North Korea, Russia – New Mode of Transportation
North Korea, Russia now have Mangyongbong. This is a ferry which is offering weekly service between Vladivostok and the North Korean port Of Rajin. The new service is in spite of the US call for countries to curtail relations with Pyongyang due to its nuclear and missile programs. It is also in spite of North Korea’s test-firing of a new type of ballistic missile last Sunday that landed in the sea near Russia.
Russian Operators Say it is a Commercial Venture
The ferry’s Russian operators say it is purely a commercial venture. However, some experts say it is a drive by North Korea to build ties with Moscow its closest ally – just in case China turns its back on the isolated country.
This is a slap in the face to the US. Recently Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked for countries to fully implement U.N. sanctions and review their ties with North Korea to pressure it to give up its weapons programs. Katina Adams, a spokeswoman for the US State Department said, “We call on all nations to fully implement U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and sever or downgrade diplomatic and commercial relations with North Korea.”
There are no immediate signs of a sustainable increase in trade between Russia and North Korea. Russia has taken a more benign stance toward Pyongyang than other major powers. This week, speaking in Beijing, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was against North Korea’s nuclear program, but that the world should talk to Pyongyang instead of threatening it.