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May 18, 2017 | 10:49 GMT

North Korea: Ferry Route To Russia Opens

A new passenger ferry service connecting North Korea and Russia opened on May 18, Kyodo reported, citing North Korean state media. The vessel, the Mangyongbong, traveled overnight from the Rajin port in northeastern North Korea’s Rason Special Economic Zone and arrived in the Russian port city of Vladivostok. No North Koreans were among the passengers, who reportedly were primarily Chinese tourists, but the weekly ferry is expected to carry North Korean products to Vladivostok. The opening comes as the international community is attempting to tighten sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile program. The Mangyongbong ferried passengers and goods to Japan until Tokyo banned it in 2006 after a North Korean missile test. Russia, which sees its growing ties with North Korea as another way to build leverage it can use in negotiations with the West, will not wield that influence just yet.
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