Start of regular ferry communication between Russia and the DPRK called concerned about the reaction of Japan. Tokyo has connected this event with nuclear and missile program and Pyongyang intends to carefully monitor the impact of new transport route will have on the solution to North Korean problems. This at a press conference said the Secretary General of the Cabinet of Ministers of Yoshihide Suga.
According to him, all countries, including Russia, should exert pressure on North Korea «to prevent provocations and respect UN resolutions». Under pressure, apparently, refers to the transport blockade of North Korea. We will remind, in April of this year, Tokyo extended the ban on all types of transport communication with the DPRK. Japanese ports are closed to vessels of third countries that have called at the ports of the DPRK.
Russia ignores this fact. The day before, 17 may, was first opened ferry communication between the ports of Rajin (North Korea) and Vladivostok. Passenger ferry «ManGyongBong», until 2006, flying to the Japanese port of Niigata will be run weekly. The operator of the transport is the Russian company «Investstroytrest» from Vladivostok.
Information about the ferry, published on the website of the operator, indicates its purely tourist and commercial destination. The ship is capable of carrying up to 200 passengers and 1.5 thousand tons of cargo. Place in one of the 40 passenger cabins will cost travelers in 600-750 yuan (5-6 thousand rubles) depending on the class. At their disposal a restaurant, a bar, a sauna and karaoke. The duration of the flight is 9 hours.
The Japanese side for the past six months — ever since it was announced the ferry service, never ceases to accuse Russia of undermining the coalition against the DPRK and undermining the sanctions regime against it. The Japanese press claims that scheduled flights would be for Pyongyang a source of receipt of currency, as it will be transported to the far East North Korean workers and, possibly, prohibited products, including parts for missiles.
Moscow denies such accusations, sanctions should not be «punitive, worsening the lives of the people of the DPRK and destroying the civilian sector of its economy». «The project of transit transportation of Russian coal through the port of Rajin and the temporary labor activity of citizens of the DPRK in Russia — no relation to the missile and nuclear do not have Affairs, we hope to continue them in the future,» said Russian Ambassador to the DPRK.
Note that Japan operates here in conjunction with its main ally — the USA. In early may, the House of representatives approved a bill aimed at the economic strangulation of the DPRK. He, in particular, provides for «special control» of the United States for the Russian ports in Vladivostok, Nakhodka and Vanino. In the Federation Council of the Russian Federation this initiative called step to war.
Expert on Japan, research fellow of IMEMO Christina Water considers the reaction of the Japanese native, fits into the overall policy of sanctions against the DPRK.
— Remember that Japan, besides the fact that it joined sanctions of the UN security Council has also imposed its own sanctions. It was back in the mid 2000-ies. The sanctions concerned, among other things Maritime communication. The ban was imposed to DPRK vessels to enter Japanese ports. Now the ban is still in force. Including in respect of the ferry «ManGyongBong». Another measure, the restriction of the transfer of funds between countries, as they were a source of income for the DPRK.
Now Tokyo sees the North Korean missile launches as a serious threat to its security. Measures of solving the problem in Tokyo is considered as the sanctions and dialogue. However, after the cessation of the six-party talks there are two groups of such dialogue. On the one hand Japan, South Korea, USA, with another — Russia and China. Consultations are regularly, but no result. While the DPRK skillfully playing on the contradictions between these two groups.
In Russia, however, not inclined to over-politicize what is happening. Thus, the Deputy Director, OOO «Investstroytrest» Michael Hmel surprised at the question «SP» on the need for Maritime communications with North Korea.
— For us, inhabitants of the Far East, North Korea is a neighbor. Up to 90 nautical miles. We have a lot of our lives, «Russian» Korean. A lot of workers from the DPRK working in Russia. So we got used to them. The need for this.
In addition, there is a need to transport Chinese tourists. While we focus on them. Unfortunately, North Korean citizens do not move freely. But the Chinese offer short cruises on the sea of Japan — at the time. That is why our rates are quoted in RMB. Tourists of China live in an area which far from sea — about a thousand kilometers. Therefore, in order to see the sea, they come to us to Vladivostok by bus. Now they will have to make and sea.
«SP»: — That is we are not talking about the opening of a new transport corridor in the DPRK, and about the additional mode of transport, focused primarily on tourists?
— Of course, this extra service. Russia and the DPRK links the railway bridge. Between stations Hasan and Tumangan. It is in working condition. There are two gauges — narrow and wide, our, Russian. In addition, there are flights.
Residents of Vladivostok reacted to more affordable travel in Korea with interest.
— While local ill-informed about new opportunities — said «SP» employee of the Seaside scenes of the Mariinsky theatre Igor Popov. — I believe that for them the news is more or less available travel in the DPRK, as well as in the Chinese city of Hunchun is a great opportunity to relax and take advantage of cheap medical services. For example, dentistry.
In General, North Korea has Russian citizens popularity and respect as a truly socialist state that actively cares about the well-being of citizens. For many Russians of the older generation travel to North Korea, which until recently was performed only by plane and a lot of money, is an opportunity in some degree to return to his youth. After many trips to the DPRK, remember the 70-ies in the USSR.
In turn, the candidate of political Sciences, the employee of VSUES Anastasiya Nikolenko emphasizes that North Korea and its closure, however, the direct ferry service will help to establish closer ties.
— When the real interest on the part of citizens of the Russian Federation the price of 600-750 yuan for the trip is not so available. Especially if there will be an opportunity to discover something new in terms of business or cultural enrichment.
According to the leading researcher of the Center for Korean studies Institute of Far Eastern studies Eugene Kim, a ferry service with North Korea and the issue of labor migration from this country are not directly linked, and Japan, expressing concern, pursues political goals.
— Labor migration from Russia to North Korea actually exists. Moreover, it is not a single migration, by agreement between the public authorities and the administrations of Russian Federation subjects. Just like that, his move from Korea to arrive. Especially that between our countries there is a visa regime in both directions.
«SP»: — In which regions are driving the North Korean workers?
— Mostly Primorye and Khabarovsk Krai. There is logging, Koreans are involved in the construction. There are a few people in the suburbs. The total number of North Korean migrants is around 36-37 thousand people. In comparison with migrant workers from Central Asia is a trifle.
We in the far East and not enough workers. In Moscow, there, the wipers 45 thousand rubles is not going to work. And there are northerners, chop wood, something taken to his home, something we give. Let them work. Another place their earnings — free port of Vladivostok. If this agglomeration will develop… we’ve got too few people. Perhaps the number of North Korean migrants will increase by a few thousand people.
«SP»: — However, Japan was worried in connection with the start of the ferry from Vladivostok to North Korea. Tokyo’s ties with labour migration. Can we say that the new road will have on it a significant impact?
No particular connection here can not be. The US and its ally Japan just want to strangle North Korea economically, not to give her some way to earn. They expect that the population of the DPRK will rebel, overthrow the government and then the Americans and the southerners will take over North Korea and the American troops come to the border with Russia.
The purpose of this is obvious and from our side there is no desire to help them. No wonder the telegram, Vladimir Putin, addressed to the newly elected President of South Korea, moon Jae-In was not a word about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.