There has been speculation inside North Korea that the country has received Russian food and oil in exchange for Pyongyang’s international support for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
North Korea recently began preparations to open new trade offices across Russia, a senior source in the country told Daily NK last Friday.
According to the source, the new trade offices will help expand imports of Russian wheat flour and other processed foods needed by North Korea, as well as energy products such as gasoline, diesel and LPG.
He told the Daily NK that North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, the Construction Guidance Office and other agencies that have long been involved in sending personnel to Russia are selecting cadres and job-level officials. to send to the country. They are also investigating regions in Russia where the new offices will open.
The source explained that the North Korean authorities plan to set up trade offices in six different areas of Russia. Regions likely to receive new offices include Vladivostok, home to many North Korean workers, as well as St. Petersburg and Moscow.
North Korea and Russia have traditionally not been ideal trading partners. China has been a better trading partner for North Korea due to its more diverse and cheaper products than those found in Russia; meanwhile, North Korea produces little of what Russia has needed.
However, bilateral relations are now closer than in the past. Russia not only faces shortages of arms and cash due to the protracted war in Ukraine, but also needs allies in the international arena. North Korea, for its part, needs to expand imports of cheap oil and food due to severe economic problems.
The UN Security Council has been unable to impose additional sanctions on North Korea for its recent series of ballistic missile provocations due to opposition from Russia and China. The international body has not even been able to issue a statement condemning the launches. Amid the “new Cold War” created through the confrontation between the United States and China on one side and Russia and the United States on the other, it seems increasingly likely that North Korea will try to break international sanctions to diversify its import of refined oil. products and acquire foreign currency.
A recent Daily NK investigation found that North Korea carried out a first round of vaccinations for business officials and other business-related workers in the city of Rason earlier this month. The inclusion of the vaccination campaign in the Rason region, the bridgehead for trade with Russia, appears to be related to North Korea’s plans to expand bilateral trade.
Daily NK also reported in August that North Korean authorities wheat imported from Russia in August, along with gasoline, diesel and LPG in October. Daily NK further understands that gas prices in some family homes in Pyongyang have plummeted, with rumors circulating in the city that North Korea “received enough gas from Russia to last until next March.”
In fact, there has been speculation within North Korea that the country has received Russian food and oil in exchange for Pyongyang’s international support for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
During an emergency special session of the UN General Assembly on October 12, North Korea’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Kim Song, expressed open support for Russia and called on the international community to recognize the results of the referendums in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, and the incorporation of those regions into Russia.
this article first appeared in the NK newspaper, who contacts multiple sources inside and outside of North Korea to verify the information. The Diplomat was unable to independently verify the claims.