Russian Far East Development Minister Alexander Kozlov met with DPRK Minister of External Economic Relations Kim Young-Jae in Pyongyang on June 7. The former visited Pyongyang to discuss economic and trade cooperation issues in relation to the two countries’ summit in Vladivostok in April this year.
The issues include automobile bridge construction across the Tumen River. At present, flights between Pyongyang and Vladivostok are available every Monday and Friday, trains between the North and Russia are in operation via the railroad bridge across the river, and no automobile route is available between the two countries.
Although they already reached a consensus that an automobile route is necessary for more economic cooperation and discussed the matter for years, the bridge construction showed little progress due to financing difficulties. However, the heads of the two states talked over the matter at their summit in April so that the project can be initiated in the near future.
The two ministers discussed the Rajin-Khasan Project as well. The purpose of the project is to transport Russian goods such as coal by using the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Rajin Port in the North.
Earlier, South Korean consortia were expected to take part in the project. However, the possibility has been ruled out since the North conducted its fourth nuclear test in January 2016 and the South Korean government responded with its own sanctions. Russian companies are currently refraining from participating in the project out of concerns over U.S. secondary boycott.