North Korea uses Japan-banned ferry to launch service to Vladivostok
Japan Times -- May 18
North Korea launched a ferry service to the Russian city of Vladivostok on Wednesday to develop links and boost economic cooperation, the North's state media said, as it faces increasing isolation over its weapons development.

Experts have said North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, may be hoping closer ties with Russia would help if China, the North’s main economic benefactor, steps up sanctions against it over its weapons programs, in defiance of U.N. resolutions.

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.

The ferry, the Mangyongbong, set sail from the North Korean port of Rajin, the North’s KCNA news agency said.

“Mangyongbong’s operation as the Rajin-Vladivostok international tourist liner will make a positive contribution to developing marine transport and economic cooperation and tourism between the two countries,” it added.

The Russian consul general based in the nearby city of Chongjin saw the ferry off, it said.

The Mangyongbong was in service between the North and Japan before Japan suspended its operations in 2006 after a North Korean missile test.

ロシアと北朝鮮の間で新たな定期航路が開設され、その第1便として北朝鮮の貨客船「万景峰(マンギョンボン)号」がウラジオストクに入港しました。 17日に北朝鮮北東部の羅津(ラジン)港を出発した万景峰号は、18日朝、ロシア極東のウラジオストクに入港しました。

News sources: Japan Times, ANNnewsCH
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