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China bans poultry imports from N. Korea
Updated: 2005-04-03 08:51

China said it will halt poultry imports from North Korea in a move to prevent a deadly outbreak of bird flu from spilling over the border into its northeasten provinces.

All poultry products from the North were barred from entering China, Xinhua news agency reported, quoting a statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

Any North Korean poultry products seized by Chinese customs officials would be destroyed, the statment said.

Qin Honghu, a quarantine bureau official in Jilin province, said all 21 checkpoints at its border with North Korea had been ordered to bar all birds and poultry from entering or leaving the province..

China had not detected any cases of bird flu so far and had vaccinated all poultry along the border, it said.

Pyongyang said Sunday it had detected the virus at two or three poultry farms in Pyongyang and had destroyed hundreds of thousands of chickens.

It said the following day that it was taking countermeasures to prevent the flu's spread amid fears an outbreak could wipe out the country's poultry industry.

The H5N1 bird flu strain is known to jump from poultry to humans and since late 2003 has killed 34 Vietnamese, 12 Thais and two Cambodians.

It has been discovered in eight countries since late 2003 -- Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, China and South Korea. Tens of millions of chickens have been culled as a result.

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