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Monday 30 July 2018

North Korea, Turkmenistan Sign Two Bilateral Agreements in Pyongyang


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PYONYUANG (NK-News) — North Korea and Turkmenistan have signed two bilateral agreements and will pursue cooperation in multiple fields including energy, transport and agriculture — the Turkmen Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced this week.

The documents were signed in Pyongyang during a visit by Turkmen Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Vepa Hajiyev, who — according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) — arrived in North Korea on Wednesday and departed on Friday.

Though there was no indication of what energy cooperation would take place, any resulting exports to the DPRK are likely to push against the UN sanctions regime. The UN Security Council (UNSC) imposed a yearly cap on the amount of crude oil and refined petroleum member states can export to the DPRK.

“There was expressed interest in strengthening interdepartmental relations, developing trade relations, establishing a legal framework for bilateral cooperation. Among areas of mutual interest, energy, transport, agriculture and the cultural-humanitarian area were noted”, the Turkmenistan foreign ministry website reads.

It added that after talks on July 25 and 26, that two documents were signed between the parties, including a Memorandum of Understanding on political consultations and a Cooperation Program between the two ministries. The Cooperation Program will run from 2018-2020.

According to KCNA on Friday, Hajiyev and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho held discussions on Thursday, and the Turkmen also met Vice Foreign Minister Sin Hong Chol and Vice-Minster of External Economic Relations Ri Kwang Gun “to discuss the issues of mutual cooperation”, the report added.

The U.S. recently asked the UNSC to halt all oil transfers to North Korea following a submission of evidence to the 1718 committee that claimed North Korea conducted up to 89 prohibited ship-to-ship (STS) transfers involving oil in the first five months of 2018. This was rebuffed by China and Russia.

Foreign Minister Ri previously travelled to Turkmenistan in April during a tour of various central Asian states and also attended a ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Baku, Azerbaijan.

While in Turkmenistan, Ri also met with his counterpart Rashid Meredov with both expressing “the need for their further intensification” of bilateral relations.

On the same day as Hajiyev’s departure, KCNA also reported that Kim Yong Nam the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), “received credentials from Chinar Rustamova, Turkmen ambassador to the DPRK.”

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