The Korea Herald


RZD says new U.N. sanctions might halt joint project with N. Korea

By 안성미

Published : Feb. 25, 2016 - 21:10

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Russian Railways (RZD) said Thursday that it might be forced to suspend its Rajin-Khasan trade logistics project with North Korea, depending on the passage of new U.N. sanctions against the communist North for the latter's recent nuclear test and a long-range missile launch.
The state-run railway company said it first needed to see the actual contents of the proposed U.N. bill on fresh sanctions against Pyongyang.
The company added its future actions will be in line with the Russian government's stance on the proposed U.N. sanctions, hinting at a possible suspension of the joint project with North Korea should the new U.N. sanctions disallow it with the Russian government honoring such a decision.
The official response from RZD came hours after the U.S. said it has reached an agreement with China, the North's largest communist ally, over fresh U.N. Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang.
North Korea prompted international criticism by launching what it claimed to be a satellite on Feb. 7 despite existing U.N. Security Council sanctions that prohibit it from launching any long-range rockets, including satellites. Many, apparently including China, also believe the satellite launch was a disguise for testing North Korea's long-range missile technology.
The Rajin-Khasan project, once blessed by South Korea as well, seeks to build a new shipping route for transporting Russian coal to South Korea via the North.
Three batches of Russian coal have been shipped to South Korea through the North Korean border town of Rajin in test runs after a 54-kilometer railway between Rajin and Russia's Khasan was reconnected in 2014.
The project had already been on the verge of collapse, even before the start of discussions on fresh U.N. sanctions against the North, after South Korea announced suspension of all economic cooperation with the communist state, three days after the North's launch of the claimed satellite.
RZD said its South Korean partners have not yet officially declared their pullout from the joint project with North Korea, but noted it was aware of Seoul's recent decision to halt joint business projects with the North. (Yonhap)