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NUKEWARS
China urges S.Korea to 'remove obstacles' to good ties
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 18, 2017


Russia launches ferry connection with North Korea
Moscow (AFP) May 18, 2017 - The first ever ferry service linking Russia and North Korea was launched on Thursday, the company operating it said, hoping to serve tourists and North Korean workers.

The ferry will travel weekly between Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok and the North Korean port of Rajin, also called Rason, said Vladimir Baranov, director of InvestStroiTrest, the company that operates the Man Gyong Bong boat that will service the route.

Potential passengers include "North Koreans coming to work in Russia and tourists from northern China who miss the sea because they don't have their own," Baranov told AFP.

"Also it will service cargo because currently the logistics are horrible, it takes 22 days for cargo to get from Vladivostok to Rajin," he said.

Baranov said Russian tourist firms had already expressed interest in the possibility of Russians travelling to North Korea by ferry.

"It's a trading economic zone, so they don't require visas, only an invitation, which the tourist firms would provide," Baranov said when asked how Russian tourists would gain access to the secluded country.

The news comes as tensions have spiked on the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang's test launch of a ballistic missile, with Washington saying the country's weapons development should be treated "with a sense of urgency."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week he is against expanding the "club of nuclear powers" but added that "we must stop intimidating North Korea."

Russian state channel Rossiya showed the ship in the Vladivostok port early Thursday, saying locals were not permitted to get close due to a security incident over a found unclaimed bag.

A representative of a Chinese tourism firm told the channel that the route would be "very convenient" for those wanting to visit North Korea and Russia on the same trip.

Baranov said sixty tourists from China have already booked a trip on the next boat, which has 40 cabins as well as bars and a karaoke room, according to the company website.

China's foreign minister urged South Korea's new government on Thursday to remove "obstacles" to good relations amid Chinese anger at the US deployment of an anti-missile system on the Korean peninsula.

Greeting South Korean presidential envoy Lee Hae-Chan in Beijing, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said bilateral relations have made immense progress over the years.

"But this year we've had some undeserved setbacks," Wang said, likely in a veiled reference to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system that became operational earlier this month.

"We hope the new government will correct the problems that we have encountered and take effective measures and positions as soon as possible to remove the obstacles that have been placed on the road to good relations between our two countries."

South Korea's new President Moon Jae-In dispatched Lee to Beijing in the wake of his election victory last week.

Ties between Seoul and Beijing soured before Moon's election over the deployment of THAAD, which is aimed at guarding against threats from nuclear-armed North Korea. China sees THAAD as a threat to the regional security balance.

Left-leaning Moon and President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone last week and both agreed that denuclearising North Korea was a "common goal" between them, Moon's spokesman said.

"We believe South Korea will bring clear measures to improve relations," Wang said.

For his part, Lee said Moon asked him "to express his thanks to President Xi for his message of congratulations after our election. He also asked me to come and engage in deep dialogue".

Moon's spokesman, Yoon Young, said last week that the special delegation to Beijing would "exclusively discuss the THAAD and the North's nuclear issues".

Moon, who took office on Wednesday, favours engagement with the North -- whose key diplomatic backer is China -- to bring it to the negotiating table over its nuclear and missile ambitions.

He has previously expressed ambivalence over the THAAD system and told Xi last week he was "well aware" of Chinese concerns about it, calling for bilateral talks to "increase understanding over the issue".

Tensions have been running high in the region, with Pyongyang launching what appeared to be its longest-range missile yet on Sunday.

The United Nations Security Council met behind closed door on Tuesday to discuss tightening sanctions on North Korea.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the United States was working with China on a new sanctions resolution and warned that all countries must step up action against North Korea or face measures themselves.

NUKEWARS
UN Security Council vows sanctions over N. Korea missile test
United Nations, United States (AFP) May 16, 2017
The UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile test and vowed strong measures, including sanctions, to derail Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme. North Korea's long-term bid to develop a credible nuclear attack threat to the US mainland saw it launch Sunday what appeared to be its longest-range missile yet. Pyongyang said the new weapon - called ... read more

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com

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