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Russian tourism agency’s chief sees no obstacles for fostering travel to North Korea

November 21, 2017, 13:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Tourism is beyond politics, Oleg Safonov said

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A visitor stands near a tourist attraction in the tourist center in Mount Kumgang in North Korea

A visitor stands near a tourist attraction in the tourist center in Mount Kumgang in North Korea

© AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. Head of Russia’s federal tourism agency Oleg Safonov does not see any difficulties in advancing tourism between Russia and North Korea despite sanctions against Pyongyang.

Political factors won’t affect this sector, he said on the sidelines of the All-Russian Youth Forum of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.

"I say let’s develop this, why not?" Safonov said. "Tourism is beyond politics. This is a generally recognized approach. I don’t see any problems here."

In September, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution slapping new sanctions on Pyongyang. The decision places restrictions on supplies of petroleum products to North Korea and sets limits on crude oil (the amount should not exceed the level over the past 12 months). North Korea also cannot buy condensates and natural gas liquids, nor sell textiles.

In October, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree slapping sanctions on North Korea to implement the UN Security Council’s resolution. The directive suspends scientific and technical cooperation with North Korean individuals.

Cooperation is allowed in nuclear science and equipment, aerospace machine building, aviation equipment and advanced manufacturing technologies and techniques only if this does not contribute to developing Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.

Putin also ordered the revocation of licenses from vessels in Russia linked to furthering North Korea’s nuclear program and banned these ships from entering Russia’s ports, with exceptions made for emergencies.

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