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All Aboard the Train to Pyongyang
Russia and Norks Sign Trade Agreement

Russia and North Korea have signed an economic development agreement aimed at increasing bilateral trade to $1 billion by 2020, according to reports in South Korean media outlets. Here’s the story from NK News:

The protocol agreement outlined mutual economic interests between the two countries that include cooperation in trade, investment, transport, energy and natural resources, employment, and interregional cooperation.

Russian officials in March stated an intention to explore new markets following the introduction of sanctions by the west over Russian action in Crimea, Russian news agency RIA Novosti said on Friday.

More details on the increasing economic cooperation between Moscow and Pyongyang, from South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency:

North Korea has visibly increased imports of cargo-handling machinery from Russia, a possible sign that the two countries are stepping up economic cooperation in developing a strategically located North Korean port, a trade agency report issued in Seoul showed on March 30.

North Korea and Russia maintain economic relations that include a project that would make North Korea’s northeastern port city of Rajin a logistics hub by connecting it to Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway. North Korea is said to have agreed to a long-term lease of the No. 3 dock at Rajin port to Russia and that it is modernizing facilities there. The cranes may be for such modernization efforts, the KOTRA report said.

Though the Kremlin has long enjoyed a favorable relationship with the Norks, the two countries may be stepping up cooperation now that Russia and the West are no longer on friendly terms. Russia and North Korea share an interest in upsetting the U.S.-led global order and the recent conflict in Crimea may be driving them into each other’s arms.

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  • gabrielsyme

    We are quickly learning that Russia has both a greater ability and a greater willingness to act against Western interests than vice versa.

    It is about time that the West, and America in particular, rethought its mindless policy of containment of Russia and considers how to focus on our mutual interests, which are actually pretty strong. Of course, if the West considers post-nationalism, secularism and social liberalism to be its core interests, there will be no possibility of constructive engagement.

  • stefanstackhouse

    If their friendship with the Norks is not sufficiently satisfying, I’m sure we could head to the swamps and dredge up a bunch of leaches that we could ship to them as a present.

  • free_agent

    This sounds like what business leaders call “Adding strength to strength.”, that is, one marginal economy cutting a deal with a moribund economy.

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