Ferry between Russian Federation, N.Korea starts regular service

The trip marks the beginning of a once-weekly regular cargo-passenger service, TASS added. Besides carrying tourists, the vessel is expected to transport humanitarian aid from Russian Federation and North Korea-made products in return.

The Man Gyong Bong ferry was built in 1971 and underwent modernization previous year.

The company owns RosKor, which is the route's operator. "The vessel will be on the way back on May 19", said Mikhail Khmel, deputy director general of Investstroytrest. "Also it will service cargo because now the logistics are disgusting, it takes 22 days for cargo to get from Vladivostok to Rajin", he said.

The North's armed forces ministry ordered the army to take steps to protect gallery strongholds from air raids in mid-April, Radio Free Asia (RFA) said, citing the Osaka-based North Korea specialist news organ Asia Press.

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The ferry Mangyongbong sailed from North Korean port of Rajin with estimated time of arrival in Port of Vladivostok on May 18 morning. "Now these contacts are rather limited due to the lack of transport infrastructure", Artyom Lukin, Assistant Professor at Far-Eastern Federal University's School for Regional and International Research, told TASS. Even during the Soviet time, when the ties between the USSR and North Korea were more active, there weren't any cargo-passenger services between Vladivostok and North Korea, he said.

Anyone willing to embark on the Rajin-Vladivostok cruise will have to pay 600-750 Yuans ($87-101), depending on cabin class.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the defense detachment on Jangjae Islet and the Hero Defence Detachment on Mu Islet located in the southernmost part of the waters off the southwest front, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 5, 2017.

North Korea is once again under global pressure over its nuclear weapons programme, after test-firing a ballistic missile on Sunday that landed in the sea near Russia.The United States has been discussing possible new U.N. sanctions with China, which disapproves of the North's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them.

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