Dec. 7 (UPI) — Russia is exporting raw soybeans from its Amur region to South Korea for the first time, but it is unlikely the trade will be conducted through a route that once ran through North Korea.
Soya ANK, a Russian soybean producer that operates soybean farms in Amur, said it plans to harvest 4,000 tons of edible soybeans in 2020. The beans would be exported to South Korea from February to March 2021, Tass news agency reported Friday.
The Amur region borders China, but is also not far from the border with North Korea.
Prior to 2016, Russia and South Korea engaged in an experimental three-way shipping project that brought Russian commodities to South Korea through a North Korean transfer point, Rajin.
The logistics project was suspended in March 2016 upon Seoul’s request.
A Russian official from the Amur region told Tass the region exports 400,000 tons of soybeans annually to neighboring countries.
Russian producers previously exported refined soybeans, delivered to South Korean company Lotte International in October, according to the Russian Agricultural Bank.
Amur soybeans comprise 40 percent of total soybean production in Russia. In 2011, former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il visited the region where he may have pursued a farm project that did not materialize; Kim died that year.
North Korea’s nuclear provocations in 2016 contributed to the suspension of the “Rajin-Hasan” project, through which shipments of Russian coal bound for South Korea and the southern coast of China were transferred.
North Korean tensions are rising again with a war of words with the United States. A North Korean diplomat condemned U.S. rhetoric on Thursday, and used a term, “dotard,” once used to describe President Donald Trump. Trump had referred to Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man” this week for the first time since 2017.
The Trump administration has ruled out a change of course on North Korea.
“Kim Jong Un has promised to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. We hope that he sticks to that promise, and we’re going to keep at the negotiations and keep at the diplomacy as long as we think that there’s hope there. And we do,” Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Fox News on Thursday.