Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Economic cooperation that took place between Russia and North Korea has substantially diminished, Russian Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka said.
Galushka, who is also co-chairman of Business Russia association, said North Korea's nuclear tests are to blame for the termination or rollbacks of several joint projects, according to Tass and Yonhap.
But he also defended the presence of North Korean laborers in his country Monday.
The Russian official said Moscow stands ready to comply with North Korea sanctions adopted at the United Nations Security Council.
Previous ventures, including a railway modernization project publicized in 2014, are suspended, Galushka said.
Russian Railways, or RZD, was pursuing a railroad project in North Korea that would have renovated the country's 2,100-mile rail infrastructure over a 20-year time frame -- while pouring $25 billion in investments into the relatively isolated country.
Another project involving the transport of Russian coal to South Korea through the Rajin-Hasan Railway that runs through North Korea was also partly suspended owing to rising tensions on the peninsula, Galushka said.
"Despite the capacity to transport 4 million tons of cargo annually, only 1.5 millions tons of cargo are being delivered," the Russian official said.
Galushka also defended Moscow's North Korea sanctions record and said Russia has "never" violated sanctions measures while admitting the country does allow North Korean workers in the country.
But Russia has banned bringing in additional North Korean workers, following the recent adoption of Resolution 2371, Galushka said.
"There are currently 40,000 North Korean workers in Russia," the official said. "The Russian economy does not need to neither increase nor decrease that number."