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Russia’s economic interests will not be impaired by new sanctions against North Korea

March 03, 5:37 UTC+3
The Russia side, in words of Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, held additional consultations with the United States delegation and managed to protect these interests
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Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin

© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS, archive

UNITED NATIONS, March 3. /TASS/. Russia has managed to protect its economic interests from the impacts of a new package of sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday following Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Wednesday.

He said the construction of a rail road from Russia to North Korea will not be affected by the toughened sanction regime.

The Russian diplomat said that the resolution adoption was preceded by long talks between the United States and China. China, in the long run, "agreed to the rather tough and in some respects unprecedented measures of sanction pressure on North Korea," Churkin said.

"In these conditions, we also agreed with such approach," he noted. "But like Chine, we also have certain economic interests which have nothing to do with North Korea’s nuclear and missile program."

The Russia side, in his words, held additional consultations with the United States delegation and managed to protect these interests.

"I am referring to a rather serious project of our Russian Railways Co (RZD), namely the construction of a rail road to North Korea that will be used to deliver Russian coal to some of China’s southern regions and to South Korea," the Russian diplomat said, adding that this project is intact, "as are our other economic interests."

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday unanimously passed resolution 2270 on tougher sanctions against North Korea in retaliation for Pyongyang’s tests of nuclear weapons and the use of a ballistic missile to launch a satellite. The resolution, agreed by Russia, the United States and China, imposes serious restrictions - up to a total ban - on importing coal, iron ore, titanium, vanadium and other precious metals from the DPRK and an embargo on delivery of aviation and rocket fuel to the country. The U.N. Security Council resolution envisages the imposition of sanctions against the North Korean banking sector and targeted sanctions against a number of persons and organizations linked to the North Korean nuclear and missile programs.

The resolution binds to inform the United Nations Security Council sanctions committee about shipment via Rajin, Churkin said, adding that no special permit is needed from this committee.

An agreement on the Khasan-Rajin project of restoring a railway line linking the Russian station of Khasan and North Korea’s port of Rajin was reached in 2006. The project was implemented in 2008-2014 by the joint venture between Russia’s state-run rail company Russian Railways (RZD) and North Korea.

The project’s investments totaled 10.6 billion rubles (163 million U.S. dollars). The terminal in the port of Rajin opened in July 2014. The throughput capacity of the Khasan-Rajin link and the terminal is 5 million tons a year.

Until recently, Russian coal was shipped by sea from Rajin to South Korea as a pilot trilateral project. South Korean media outlets reported two days ago that Seoul was planning to ban vessels sailing from North Korea to call at South Korea’s ports.

Experts say Rajin can boast a number of advantages as an ice-free port on North Korea’s eastern coast with a developed infrastructure and Russian-standard gauge. The port offers high security standards for shippers and privileges to businessmen.

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