Posted April. 14, 2015 07:11,
Soft coal amounting to will be shipped from Russia through the North Korean port city of Najin to arrive in Pohang Port in North Gyeongsang Province in South Korea as early as next week. It is the second outcome of the "Najin-Hassan project," a three-way economic cooperation project pursued by South Korea, North Korea and Russia. The volume of the coal (120,000- 150,000 tons) is three times the shipment (45,000 tons) made through the first pilot project conducted in December last year.
According to diplomatic sources in Seoul on Monday, the Unification Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry of South Korea are discussing with the North on schedule for a visit to North Korea for onsite inspection of Najin Port by the South Korean companies of Posco, Hyundai Merchant Marine, and Korail that are participating in the consortium for the Najin-Hassan project, and South Korean officials. Upon receiving a response from Pyongyang, the South Korean government will announce a plan on the pilot project this week. The timing for introduction of soft coal remains undecided due to ongoing consultations with the North Korean authority, but chances are high that the shipment will be made on April 23 or 24.
Bituminous coal from Siberia in Russia will be carried by rail through Vladivostok and Hassan and arrive in Najin Port, before being shipped to Pohang Port through the East Sea. Chances are reportedly high that Chinese vessels will carry the coal from Najin to Pohang Port.
For the pilot project, freight fares and port fees will be paid by the South to the North through Russia. Despite stalled inter-Korean relations, indirect investment in the North, through which the Souths economic cooperation fund will flow into the Stalinist country via Russia in a way that circumvents Seouls May 24 measures that ban inter-Korean economic cooperation, is thus set to resume. As a result, attention is focusing on whether a main contract for the Najin-Hassan project with Russia will also gather momentum or not.