Thursday, 21 September, 2017

New ferry links North Korea and Russian Federation despite USA calls for isolation

Yuri Smityuk  TASS Yuri Smityuk TASS
Melinda Barton | 19 May, 2017, 05:27

A cargo-passenger ferry service linked the North Korean port of Rason to Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on May 18, TASS reports. The North Korean ferry made its second port call here in nine days as the Stalinist state is rushing shipments of necessities in time for next week's 55 anniversary of its founding.

One of the passengers showed a photograph on her smartphone she said had been taken on board.

Mikhail Khmel, deputy director of InvestStroiTrest, the joint operator of the Man Gyong Bong, said Chinese interest is not limited to tourism.

The trip marked the beginning of a once-weekly regular cargo-passenger service. As well as serving Chinese tourists, the ferry will carry North Korean products such as furniture and fishery products as well as Russian humanitarian support goods.

A representative of a Chinese tourism company told the channel the route would be convenient for those wanting to visit North Korea and Russian Federation on the same trip.

Japan's Kyodo News said that Wednesday marked the first time for a passenger liner linking the North and Russian Federation to set sail.

The Mangyongbong used to regularly shuttle between Japan and North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the defense detachment on Jangjae Islet and the Hero Defence Detachment on Mu Islet located in the southernmost part of the waters off the southwest front, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 5, 2017.

North Korea is facing increasing isolation over its missile development and Russian Federation is one of the few countries that continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned the missile launch as "dangerous", he also warned against "intimidating" North Korea, a neighboring country that shares a 17 kilometer (11 mile) land border with Russia.

Since that attack, and amid rising tension with the U.S., North Korea has been rebuilding walls to protect gallery positions from air raids, according to U.S. government broadcaster Radio Free Asia.

North Korea-owned merchant ships were frequently seized at ports in line with heavier United Nations Security Council sanctions adopted previous year.