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Russia and North Korea to resume train services after 4 years

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File photo (Credit: EPr-666)

Russia and North Korea will resume passenger train services next month after a four-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Russian government announced on Wednesday, just days after a summit between President Vladimir Putin and leader Kim Jong Un.

Oleg Kozhemyako, the governor of Primorsky Krai in Russia’s Far East, said trains will be taking passengers and tourists on a route from the city of Vladivostok to the North Korean port of Rason. The first trains are scheduled to leave in July.

“It will be very convenient for passengers and tourists, having boarded in Vladivostok, to come directly to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to enjoy the beauty, nature, and culture there and get acquainted with the customs and traditions,” Kozhemyako said.

Kozhemyako expects thousands of Russian tourists will visit the reclusive country this year, including children from Primorye who will go on a summer vacation to North Korea. At the same time, children from North Korea will go to the ‘Ocean’ youth camp near Vladivostok.

The passenger trains are expected to stop in Vladivostok and Khasan on the Russian side and Tumangan and Rason on the North Korean side.

Train services between North Korea and Russia were suspended in January 2020, when North Korea closed its border in response to the coronavirus outbreak in neighboring China. The country’s borders remained closed for years as the virus spread around the world.

The first train traveled to North Korea on June 6, carrying 41 Russian tourists and representatives of the Primorye tourism industry to discuss the upcoming opportunities. Some Russian tourists have also traveled to North Korea by plane.

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