Russia to Resume Direct Passenger Rail Service with North Korea in July

Interfax reported on Wednesday that Russia will reinstate direct passenger rail service with North Korea starting in July, marking the end of a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Interfax, Oleg Kozhemyako, the governor of Russia’s Primorsky Krai bordering North Korea, confirmed the resumption. The trains will operate from Vladivostok to the North Korean port of Rason.

“Having boarded in Vladivostok, (people) will come straight to the DPRK, enjoy the beauty, nature, culture there, get acquainted with the customs and traditions,” Kozhemyako stated during the opening of a festival featuring North Korean goods in Vladivostok.

The decision comes amid Russia’s pivot towards Asia and Africa following sanctions imposed by Ukraine and its allies in response to Russia’s invasion in 2022. Recently, President Vladimir Putin’s visit to North Korea, the first since 2000, further solidified Moscow’s relationship with Pyongyang. During the visit, Putin and North Korean leaders signed a bilateral agreement that included a mutual defense pledge.

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