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South Korea imports Russian coal via North Korea

World Coal,

Coal will bring North and South Korea together this month, as Russian coal exports to the South are transported via a key port in North Korea.

North and South Korea are still technically at war, and political tensions between the two countries remain high.

It is hoped that trade deals between North and South may boost co-operation between the countries. In light of this, South Korea will import 30 000 t of Russian coal this month through North Korea’s Rajin port.

The deal is part of the Rajin-Hassan logistics partnership project between the three countries and involved a consortium of POSCO, Hyundai Merchant Marine and KORAIL. The project is part of South Korean President, Park Geun0hye’s so0called Eurasia Initiative, which aims to open trade routes with the mainland.

According to the Unification Ministry, the Russian coal will be loaded on a ship at Rajin port and transported to Pohang. From here, POSCO will collect the coal and use it in steelmaking.

POSCO currently imports around 2 million tpa of coal from Vladivostock.

According to South Korean news outlet, The Chosinilbo, if the trade project proves a success, the consortium will acquire half of the 70% stake Russia owns in a joint venture with North Korea called RasonConTrans. 

South Korea halted trade with North Korea after the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan in 2010 and cannot invest directly in a North Korean business.

A government official said, "The import of Russian resources will boost efforts to link the trans-Korean railway and trans-Siberian railway to a line running all the way to Europe." 

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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