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North Korea merchandise to be sold in Vladivostok, Russian official says

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea merchandise to be sold in Vladivostok, Russian official says
North Korea goods, seen in this flagship department store in Pyongyang, could soon hit the shelves of a “specialty store” in Russia, an official said Thursday. File Photo by Adrian Bradshaw/EPA

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A "specialty store" selling North Korean goods will be built in the Russian city of Vladivostok, according to a Russian government official on Thursday.

Alexander Krutikov, the deputy minister for the development of the Russian Far East, said the store would be an official supplier of North Korea-made goods, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

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"A Russia-based corporation specializing in North Korean products will soon be established," Krutikov said, adding the details of the business would be worked out on Feb. 6, during an upcoming Russia-North Korea trade and economic cooperation committee meeting in Moscow.

The planned meeting in February would be the ninth on economic cooperation the two partners have held in the past decade. The eighth meeting was held last March in Pyongyang, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

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Discussions could address potential plans to build a bridge for automobiles that would link Khasan station in the Russian Far East to the Tumen River station in North Korea, Krutikov reportedly said.

North Korea remains under heavy sanctions, and trade bans cover weapons-related materials. More recently the embargo began to cover luxury goods, financial assets and banking transactions.

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Russia's ties to North Korea have grown since 2018, and the disclosure of the Vladivostok-based store comes a day after reports said Igor Morgulov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, met with North Koreans in Moscow on Tuesday.

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The two sides discussed "cooperating" at the United Nations, according to the Russian foreign ministry.

Krutikov also told local media Russia could permit the North Koreans to open a similar store in Moscow.

Plans for Russia-based North Korean stores are being disclosed at a time when Russia could have been offering Pyongyang assistance in other areas.

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The Washington Post reported Wednesday Russia offered North Korea a nuclear power plant in exchange for nuclear weapons dismantlement.

Kim Jong Un has yet to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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