Minister calls for visa-free regime between Russia and North Korea

The co-chairman of the Russian-North Korean intergovernmental commission, Alexander Galushka, argued on Saturday that Russia and North Korea badly need a mutual visa-free regime.

"We should move toward a visa-free regime between the Russian Federation and North Korea for the purpose of development of tourism," Galushka, who is minister for the development of Russia's Far Eastern regions, said at a meeting in Pyongyang of the Russian-North Korean Business Council.

He said there is desire for this in North Korea as well.

He mentioned that at a meeting in October 2014, he and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong raised various issues of bilateral relations, including the visa problem. Ri was essentially in favor of a visa-free regime, according to the Russian minister.

Galushka also cited himself as complaining during talks in March last year with North Korean Foreign Economic Affairs Minister Ri Ryong-nam that Russian companies doing business in North Korea were having problems because they could receive no multi-entry visas.

"We stated that problem and at the end of the year got a precedent - Russian nationals were issued with long-term multiple visas. Today, in the context of the development of tourism, it would, of course, be appropriate to boost this practice, make it mass-scale practice," Galushka said.

"At the beginning of 2014, it was impossible to even imagine that Russians would receive long-term visas, but now we can see obvious progress," he said.

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