“Shortly after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Putin wrote off most of North Korea’s $11 billion debt to Russia.” Brian Whitmore, RFERL
Besides the new ferry route, discussed below, Russia and North Korea share a border https://en.wikipedia.org/api/rest_v1/page/pdf/North_Korea–Russia_border
From RFERL: https://www.rferl.org/a/the-morning-vertical-august-14-2017/28675595.html
“The Morning Vertical, August 14, 2017
August 14, 2017 10:06 GMT Brian Whitmore
ON MY MIND
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced a proposal to reduce tensions with North Korea.
Under what Lavrov billed as a Chinese-Russian proposal, North Korea would freeze missile tests and the United States and South Korea would impose a moratorium on large-scale military exercises.
As we discuss on this week’s Power Vertical Briefing, the plan isn’t very different from Moscow’s rhetoric every time North Korea acts up.
After every missile test, Moscow oh so mildly criticizes Pyongyang — but the criticism always comes with a twist, a hedge, and a yeah-but.
After a North Korean missile launch back in May, for example, Vladimir Putin said we need to “stop intimidating” Kim Jong Un’s regime and find “peaceful ways of resolving these issues.”
A little context here is useful, because the Kremlin is far from an honest broker regarding North Korea. In fact, Moscow has been quite busy courting Pyongyang for some time now.
Shortly after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Putin wrote off most of North Korea’s $11 billion debt to Russia.
Moreover, about 50,000 North Koreans are working on construction projects in the Russian Far East.
And a new ferry route was recently opened between Vladivostok and the North Korean port of Rason.
If Russia chose to, it could use its leverage to curb North Korea’s dangerous behavior. But, instead, it appears to be more interested in courting and protecting a client.
IN THE NEWS
Five Crimean Tatar activists have been detained while protesting the jailing of Server Karametov, a 76-year-old man who has Parkinson’s disease, by the Russian-imposed authorities.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said Syrian government troops backed by Russian forces have recaptured huge swathes of territory from opposition forces in the previous two months.
Russia’s government has nominated Germany’s former chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, to join the board of the Russian state-owned energy giant Rosneft.
Residents of St. Petersburg have paid homage to sailors from the Kursk nuclear submarine, which sank in the Barents Sea exactly 17 years earlier.
Former world chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov is briefly coming out of retirement after 12 years.
Snapchat’s parent company says the U.S. messaging app has been registeredwith Russia’s media regulator without its knowledge…..”
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036
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