Ferry communication between Russia and North Korea completed its first trip. According to the Russian news Agency TASS, on Wednesday at 8 a.m. local time the ferry Man Gyong Bong left the North Caucasian port city of Rason and arrived in the Russian far-Eastern city.
According to TASS, the trip was the beginning of regular freight and passenger service. An estimated 40 passengers boarded the ship for the first flight. "These are Russian citizens who returned from North Korea and tourists from China", - said Deputy General Director of "Investstroytrest" Michael Hmel, quoted by TASS.
The company expects that most of its passengers are Chinese tourists, who can visit the Russian Primorsky Krai and North Korea in one trip, he told TASS. Previously, regular transport between the two countries was possible only by air or by rail, after which the Man Gyong Bong made the first regular passenger-cargo flight linking the Russian and North Korean ports, reports TASS.
The ship Man Gyong Bong holds up to 200 passengers and about 1,5 thousand tons of cargo. The first time it will operate between Regina and Vladivostok four times a month.
North Korea faces increasing isolation in regard to its missile development, and Russia is one of the few countries that continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.
"Although Russia is concerned about North Korea and its missiles, it also sees North Korea as an opportunity to leverage on the West," said Matthew chance, senior international correspondent for CNN from Moscow.
sections: Economics, World News