Russia and North Korea are expected to start building a bridge at a border crossing as one of the infrastructure projects of the Business Council, which was formed by both countries in February.
Vitaly Survillo, the chairman of Russia’s Business Council for Cooperation with North Korea previously stated the most promising cooperation between the countries are infrastructure projects including roads, utility networks, and tourism. He added that the Business Council is also interested in the resources of North Korea including its mineral wealth. He said, “North Korea has significant reserves of natural and labor resources.”
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According to Sputnik News, Russia already started the documentation for a pontoon bridge development project at the border crossing of Hassan Primorsky territory going to North Korea.
During a meeting of the Russia-North Korea Business Council, Alexander Galushka, Minister for the Development of the Far East stated that the two countries are working on joint projects. He also noted the positive aspects of the joint projects in trade and economics outlined for the year.
“Since the establishment of the council, we have received numerous proposals from business communities of both countries. One of them was the project of a pontoon bridge at the Hasan border crossing,” said Galushka.
He emphasized that the Ministry and the administration of the Primosrkiy territory supported the construction of a pontoon bridge to North Korea. He also confirmed that Russia already started developing the documentation for the project.
Russia signs automobile exchange agreement with North Korea
In addition to the bridge construction, Russia also signed an automobile exchange agreement with North Korea, according to Galushka. He said that Hasan-Radshin project would be associated with the plan to connect the Trans-Siberian and Baikal-Amur Mainline with the Trans-Korean railway.
Galushka said, “This year, more than $10 billion will be spent on the modernization of Trans-Siberian and Baikal-Amur Mainline.” Russia plans to complete the modernization by 2018.
Closer ties between Russia and North Korea help ensure regional stability and security
Russia continues to strengthen its economic and political relationship with North Korea. Last year, Moscow forgave $10 billion out of the $11 billion debt of Pyongyang.
In May, North Korean President Kim Jong-un will attend Russia’s commemoration of its victory against the Nazi Germany during the World War II. He will be among the 25 leaders, who confirmed their attendance in the annual Victory Day celebration of Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin previously emphasized that a closer relationship between Russia and North Korea would help “ensure regional stability and security.”
Russia is planning to conduct joint military exercises with North Korea and other countries. Last February, Russian Chief-of-Staff Valery Gerasimov said, “We are going to conduct a series of joint naval and air force exercises, as well as joint drills of our ground troops and air assault troops.”
Steven Pifer, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine commented, “The Russian military may be reaching out to other countries as part of Moscow’s effort to show that it is not isolated, despite the very negative international reaction to Russian aggression against Ukraine.”
Russia, North Korea have long diplomatic history
Russia and North Korea have a long diplomatic history. During the late 1940s, North Korea’s founder, Kim II Sung served in the Soviet Army where he received military and political training. The Soviet Union supported North Korea during the Cold War until its economic collapse in 1991. The late Kim Jong II visited Moscow regularly. In fact, the late supreme leader visited Putin before his death in 2011.
Dr. Leonid Petrov, a professor of Asian Studies at the Australian National University recently commented, “North Korea is a convenient friend for Moscow — it is anti-American and it is a key part of Asia. Russia lost many of its traditional allies — it needs friends, both economically and politically.”