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Politics

Russian company to begin regular ferry service to North Korea in May

Mangyongbong-92 to link Vladivostok, Rason

The North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92 arrives at the port of Niigata in Japan in August 2003.

MOSCOW -- A Russian company will begin a regular cargo-passenger ferry service between Russia and North Korea in May, The Nikkei learned on Wednesday.

Vladimir Baranov, director general of Russia's InvestStroiTrest, the operator of the new regular route, told The Nikkei that the Mangyongbong-92 -- whose entry to Japan has been banned following North Korea's ballistic missile launch and other acts -- will sail between Russia's easternmost city of Vladivostok and North Korea's northeastern city of Rason.

The launch of the regular service is a sign of Russia's willingness to extend economic cooperation to North Korea despite Pyongyang's continued nuclear and missile provocations.

The Mangyongbong-92 will sail between the two ports about six times a month. The first ship will leave the port of Rajin on May 8 and arrive at the port of Vladivostok the next morning.

North Korean passengers of the Mangyongbong-92 will celebrate World War II victory memorial events with Chinese tourists in Vladivostok and leave for Rason on May 10.

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