North Korea ferry service docks in Russia on inaugural trip

Ferry between Russia and North Korea starts regular service
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20 May, 2017

A ferry service between Russian Federation and North Korea completed its inaugural journey Thursday morning, with 40 passengers on board.

The trip marked the beginning of a once-weekly regular cargo-passenger service, according to TASS.

Baranov said sixty tourists from China have already booked a trip on the next boat, which has 40 cabins as well as bars and a karaoke room, according to the company website.

The Man Gyong Bong was built in the "hermit kingdom" in 1971 and was past year chartered by RosKor and is owned by the Russian company InvestStroyTrest.

CNN quoted Khmel as further saying that the vessel will undertake a return sail on May 19 (Friday).

A Russian firm, InvestStroiTrest, is operating the ferry from the North Korean port of Rajin.

Chinese tourists find Mangyongbong extremely interesting, they expect to use the service to visit communist North Korea and Russian Federation, legendary countries.

Rossiya, the Russian state channel, showed the ship in the Vladivostok port early on Thursday.

North Korea is once again under global pressure over its nuclear weapons programme, after test-firing a ballistic missile on Sunday that landed in the sea near Russia.The United States has been discussing possible new U.N. sanctions with China, which disapproves of the North's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them.

The Mangyongbong will shuttle between Rajin and Vladivostok once a week.

It is said that the ship was involved in illegal exports of missile parts and was used as a place for North Korean agents to contact each other.

"It is necessary that countries closely cooperate with each other to put pressure [on North Korea]", Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Thursday morning, referring to the Mangyongbong's arrival at the Russian port.

North Korea's latest missile launch, despite landing just south of Russia's Pacific coast, has so far had no discernible impact on relations between the two countries.

Russia's close economic links with North Korea date back to the Cold War, when they were ideological allies hostile to the West.


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