North Korea ferry service docks in Russia on inaugural trip

Tammy Harvey
May 20, 2017

The first North Korea-Russia ferry service made possible for hundreds of passengers to realise their trip.

The ferry will travel weekly between Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok and the North Korean port of Rajin, also called Rason, said Vladimir Baranov, director of InvestStroiTrest, the company that operates the Man Gyong Bong boat that will service the route.

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 company owns RosKor, the ferry's operator.

Human rights groups have already spoken out against the service, commenting that it will make another possible route through which Russian Federation may deport North Korean asylum seekers with fears of imprisonment and execution.

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

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.

Before the trial run this week, the North Korean ferry was in a rusted state and docked at Rajin port.

"Rajin-Vladivostok worldwide tourist liner Man Gyong Bong will be operated by the common efforts of the DPRK and Russian Federation", reads a report by North Korea's state news agency KCNA.

That it will regularly serve a route with Russian Federation has drawn strong global criticism and comes as the U.S., China and other countries are stepping up pressure on North Korea over its repeated nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that while Moscow was opposed to any new countries acquiring nuclear weapons, the world should talk to North Korea rather than threaten it.

Russia's close economic links with North Korea date back to the Cold War, when they were ideological allies hostile to the West. The photograph showed a plaque with an inscription in Korean which, she said, bore the name of North Korea's long-dead founder Kim Il Sung.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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