North Korea's state-run television revealed what appeared to be the use of a "temporary launcher" in the latest missile test, local military sources said Thursday, another hint that the country is running short on transporter erector launchers (TELs).
The communist wonder-ship was mostly filled with Chinese tourists and boasts a restaurant, two fully-stocked bars, a karaoke club and a sauna, according to CNN.
Vladimir Baranov, director of the company that operates the Man Gyong Bong boat serving the route, said potential passengers included "North Koreans coming to work in Russian Federation and tourists from northern China who miss the sea because they don't have their own".
The company owns RosKor, which is the route's operator.
The vessel, called the Mangyongbong, will sail once a week to the port city and will also carry cargo. Chinese tourists are expected to use the service to visit communist North Korea and Russian Federation. Even during the Soviet time, when the ties between the USSR and North Korea were more active, there weren't any cargo-passenger services between Vladivostok and North Korea, he said.
The boat, the Mangyongbong, departed Rajin port in the Rason Special Economic Zone on the northeastern tip of North Korea the previous day.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the defense detachment on Jangjae Islet and the Hero Defence Detachment on Mu Islet located in the southernmost part of the waters off the southwest front, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 5, 2017.
Speaking in Beijing this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was against North Korea's nuclear programme, but that the world should talk to Pyongyang instead of threatening it.
To date, there are no signs of a sustainable increase in trade between Russian Federation and North Korea, but Russian Federation has taken a more benign stance towards Pyongyang that other major powers.
Expressing concerns over Moscow's willingness to kick-start the cargo-passenger ferry link with the hermit kingdom amid a global attempt to isolate the country, Tokyo has pledged to convey its stance to Russian Federation through diplomatic channels. They envisage a complete ban on all export and import operations with North Korea, including through third countries.