LONDON — Japanese media state that North Korean leadership has agreed to allow experts from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to conduct checks on commercial aviation operations.

These alleged inspections could begin as early as next year, including inspections of launchpads where ballistic missiles had been tested.

This agreement comes after discussions between North Korea and ICAO in May, where the Asian country agreed not to take any steps to endanger aircraft without notifying other countries.

Bearing in mind the nuclear tensions that had arisen before June 12 when the U.S and North Korea signed their nuclear agreements, aircraft across the globe avoid flying through the North Korean airspace.

Photo by: North Korea Tech

However, as there haven’t been any tests in quite a significant period of time, and tensions between the U.S and North Korea decreasing considerably, it could be the start of the re-opening of North Korean airspace to international traffic.

The agreement signed on June 12 between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un resulted in a pledge to get rid of nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula. 

Developments Across the Korean Peninsula

In May, the North Korean government requested commercial routes to Seoul in bordering South Korea as a show of diplomacy between the leaders of the North and the South.

Picture from Aviation Tribune.

North Korea’s only carrier, Air Koryo, would be the airline to operate the routes between both cities.

The carrier already serves three international destinations, including Beijing, Shenyang, and Vladivostok.

This new route between the two Koreas could open up some new trade benefits for the North, especially as they have been hit with numerous sanctions by the UN and the US over recent times.

Photo: Commons.

In June, Air China reinstated its flights between Beijing and Pyongyang with its Boeing 737-700 aircraft, following a suspension in November 2017 due to a United Nations mandate.

Data suggests that the route operates three times per week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Outlook for the Rest of the Year

These movements carried out by North Korea shows that the country is seeking to reopen their frontiers for business.

Opening up new routes into Pyongyang would enable trade links to be reinstated.

North Korea’s economy could see a boost with sanctions being lifted and a new influx of international commerce, changing the lives of the North Korean population considerably. 

The upcoming ICAO inspections could be a game-changing milestone in the country’s future, especially if international air traffic is allowed to overfly the North Korean airspace.