Russia Interested In Developing North Korean Roads, Water, And Electricity

Via North Korea News, a report on increased Russian interest in developing the DPRK’s road, water and electrical infrastructure:

Vitali Survillo, chairman of the new Russia-North Korean bilateral business council told Voice of America (VOA) that Russia is interested in developing the DPRK’s road, water and electrical infrastructure.

The new council, set up last month, will attempt to facilitate such projects – in addition to developing the North Korean tourist industry – by helping Russian businesses find partners in the DPRK.

Despite the recent positive overtures, however, experts are yet to be convinced that warming relations will translate into significant changes.

“I would suggest to wait for a couple of years to see if the recent frantic exchanges in the official visits and the like will produce any palpable results,” Andrei Lankov of Kookmin University told NK News.

According to the Ministry of Far East Development, Russia will be developing North Korean rail, tunnels and bridges over the next 20 years. The cost of the improvements will be covered by DPRK exports of natural resources, including rare earth minerals and coal.

During the interview, Survillo added that the largest obstacle is recovering from a long period of limited interactions between North Korea and Russia. The lack of cooperation meant that many business interactions had to start from scratch.

The news comes in the same week as Russian Ambassador to South Korea Alexander Timonin, called for the continuation of trilateral projects between the DPRK, Russia and South Korea.

“The implementation of three-partite economic projects with the participation of our country, South Korea and North Korea can open broad prospects for the development of mutually advantageous cooperation,” Timonin said in comments carried by Itar-Tass news agency.

The ambassador mentioned Russian plans to continue work on long gestating projects like the trans-Siberian railway, and the natural gas pipeline that would connect Russian suppliers to the energy-hungry South Korean market.

Timonin added that Russia was also looking to construct electrical infrastructure, linking Russia to South Korea via the DPRK. The ambassador cited recent trilateral projects involving coal shipments and Russian upgrades to North Korean rail and port infrastructure as evidence for future cooperation.

“We expect the cargo traffic between Russia, North Korea and South Korea to eventually become regular, which will facilitate the implementation of other three-partite projects,” Timonin said.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 12th, 2015 at 8:06 am and is filed under North Korea.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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