28 Oct 2017 11:31

Russia developing cooperation with N. Korea permitted by UNSC - Russian ministry

MOSCOW. Oct 28 (Interfax) - Cooperation between Russia and North Korea is developing, and the Russian Far East Development Ministry is hopeful that sea-going passenger traffic with North Korea will be restored, Russian Far East Development First Deputy Minister Alexander Osipov said.

"Our cooperation has not declined at this point. Rather, it is developing. Coal shipments via the Khasan-Rajin route are permitted. They are continuing. We have also opened a ferry line. We think that passenger traffic will be restored in due course, and some foreign tourists will travel via the Russian part, Russian tourists will go there, and tourists from the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] will possibly come," Osipov told Interfax.

The ministry believes that it would be "helpful to have as many types of transport and infrastructure links [with North Korean] as possible," he said.

"Movements of cargo and people facilitate the movement of ideas, investments, etc. More opportunities for earnings and social development appear," he said.

"We abide by all decisions as part of the adopted UN Security Council resolutions. We take advantage of the opportunities - economic and humanitarian cooperation - that can be used within the framework of the UNSC resolutions. For example, tourism has not been banned," Osipov said.

The Khasan-Rajin railway line carries coal exports to North Korea from Russia. South Korea withdrew from the project in spring. China and Russia wanted the Rajin port, which is part of the Rason special economic zone, to be exempt from the UN Security Council's new sanctions. The operation of the Khasan-Rajin project is the RasonConTrans joint venture, which is registered in North Korea. According to the company's data, the joint venture is 30% owned by the Rajin port, and 70% by the Russian Railways (RZD) Trading House. RZD spent 10.6 billion rubles between 2008 and 2013 on upgrading a section of the Khasan-Tumanggang-Rajin railroad and building an export terminal at the Rajin port. Another RZD subsidiary, RZD Logistics, is in charge of organizing export shipments via North Korea, the Kommersant newspaper said.