JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘These Are Our Friends’; Russians Push to Preserve North Korea Ties; Some Russian business owners and ethnic Koreans are braving U.S. ire to maintain business ties with Pyongyang” – Wall Street Journal/ Anatoly Kurmanaev, Thomas Grove, Ksenia Barakovskaya, Lyubov Barabashova, Ian Talley

North Korea Map and Flag, adapted from .gov image

“… some 13,000 North Korean workers [were] left in Russia by October …. Some Western diplomats view Moscow’s implementation of … sanctions as overly liberal. … allowing [Pyongyang] to continue earning foreign currency and sourcing vital supplies in Russia and undermining U.S. attempts to strong-arm the country into giving up [WMD]. … Russian customs data show North Korea imported about $1 million … of [Russian] gas condensates [in 2018], despite [a] U.N. ban …. [Yet c]argo and train traffic have all but halted along the only road connecting the two countries …. Russia has shut down Agrosoyuz, a bank accused by the U.S. of laundering millions of dollars for North Korean agents, and closed an illegal casino operating in North Korea’s embassy, according to local media. …  [Ca. 1900] ethnic Koreans made up a third of … Russia’s Far East. Today, they remain a bridge …. [According to one businessman] Russia risks losing out on megaprojects like a railway and gas pipeline through North and South Korea, which could become viable if the thaw between the two countries continues. …”

Click here for: “‘These Are Our Friends’; Russians Push to Preserve North Korea Ties; Some Russian business owners and ethnic Koreans are braving U.S. ire to maintain business ties with Pyongyang” – Wall Street Journal/ Anatoly Kurmanaev, Thomas Grove, Ksenia Barakovskaya, Lyubov Barabashova, Ian Talley