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SEOUL, April 20. /TASS/. Russia may start natural gas deliveries from the Pacific Island of Sakhalin to North Korea soon, using the Khasan-Najin railway, the South Korean newspaper Joongang Ilbo reported on Monday.
The deal may be reached when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un comes to Moscow for the May 9 celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, the paper said.
"During his stay in Moscow, Kim Jong-un is expected to discuss with [Russian President] Vladimir Putin the project of laying a gas pipeline to connect Vladivostok and the North Korean port of Najin," the paper quoted a government official in Seoul.
The source said Russia had started building the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok gas pipeline in 2011, adding that "after the gas pipeline is connected, North Korea will be able to build an electric power plant to meet its requirements for electricity."
"The North expects to use Sakhalin natural gas to bring its factories and plants to normal operation while Russia will be able to create a new energy market," said Professor Kim Seok Hwan from Hankuk University who is an expert on Russia.
The gas pipeline project got off the ground after President Putin signed a law in May last year on ratifying an agreement to write off about $10 billion or 90% of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt.