North Korea and Russia keep close ties, Japan-based outlet says

Border trade and cooperation agreements have increased, a pro-Pyongyang media network stated.
By Elizabeth Shim  |  Feb. 1, 2016 at 10:43 PM
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SEOUL, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- A pro-North Korea news outlet in Japan warned the United States of its hostile policy against Pyongyang, while pointing out "friendly" relations between Russia and North Korea has turned a corner.

The Choson Sinbo stated the United States would "eventually be driven to ruin" because of its anti-Pyongyang policies, but by contrast a "traditional friendship" with Russia is ever deepening.

"There was much goodwill and exchange between the countries, during the North Korea-Russia year of friendship," the pro-North Korea statement read, according to South Korean news service Newsis.

In January, Kim Jong Un had received a New Year's message from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a North Korean newspaper listed Russia ahead of China, North Korea's most important economic partner, in an announcement on North Korea's New Year exchanges with friendly countries that include Mongolia and Cuba.

North Korea also sent singers and instrumentalists of the country's Chongbong Band to perform in Russia last September.

The statement issued Tuesday, local time, also drew attention to Russia-North Korea trade at the border, and to a cooperation agreement between the power sectors of the two countries.

In 2014 and 2015, the North Korean port city of Rajin served as a connectivity point for the transportation of bituminous Russian coal to South Korea – and more than 250,000 tons of coal were brought across the Russia-North Korea border then loaded onto bulk carriers in a three-way logistics project completed last November.

The exchange of goodwill is a contrast to the rancorous relations between the United States and North Korea. North Korea accused the United States of a "scheming" effort "that has become more vicious," after the North claimed its first "successful" hydrogen bomb test.

South Korea is on guard against a second possible North Korea provocation, after satellite imagery indicated Pyongyang was resuming activities at its long-range rocket launch pad in Dongchang-ri, North Pyongyang Province.

South Korean presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-guk said situation is a "top priority," Yonhap reported.

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