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Russian-North Korean trade turnover drops by half in 2018 due to sanctions

Bilateral trade turnover amounted only to $34 mln last year, the Russian presidential aide said

MOSCOW, April 23. /TASS/. Trade turnover between Russia and North Korea dropped more than by half in 2018 due to international sanctions, Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov said on Tuesday.

"Bilateral trade turnover decreased substantially, by more than 56% last year, and amounted only to $34 mln," he said, adding that the moderate result is "first of all connected with the fact that Russia is forced to abide by sanctions against the DPRK."

According to Ushakov, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will discuss various aspects of bilateral relations during the talks due on April 25. Particularly, they are expected to share opinions on the political, as well as the economic, cultural and humanitarian agenda. He noted that sanctions against the DPRK are the major factor pushing down economic cooperation between the states. Nevertheless, an intergovernmental commission co-headed by Russia’s Minister for the Development of the Far East Alexander Kozlov from the Russian side operates, Ushakov noted. Its latest meeting was held on March 6 in Moscow, which focused on the issues of further expansion of trade and economic relations. "Russia provides humanitarian aid to the DPRK, being one of the main donors of the US World Food Program, within which Russia supplied products worth $25 mln to North Korea in 2011-2017, and another $8 mln were allocated for 2018-2019," he added.

Speaking about the agenda of the upcoming talks, Ushakov refrained from specifying the issues planned for discussion. He added that neither signings of documents nor the leaders' joint statement are planned following the talks.