Japan plans to watch how the launch of ferry service between Russia and North Korea will influence the efforts of other countries on solving the problems of Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programs, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday.

A regular cargo-passenger service connects the ports of Russia and North Korea for the first time. The Man Gyong Bong ferry left the North Korean port of Rason on Wednesday’s evening and arrived in Russia’s Far Eastern Vladivostok at 8.00 a.m. local time on Thursday, carrying around 40 passengers.

“We believe it is necessary that all countries should exert pressure on North Korea for engaging it in a dialogue. Therefore, we would like to see how such steps of Russia will influence the international efforts on North Korea’s issue,” Suga said.

“In our view, all countries, including Russia, should closely cooperate with the goal of preventing provocations (of Pyongyang) and complying with the UN resolutions,” he said.

Japan plans to outline its stance on the issue using diplomatic channels with Moscow, Suga noted.

In April, Japan extended unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang for another two years. They envisage a complete ban on all export and import operations with North Korea, including through third countries. Any types of transport links between Japan and North Korea are banned. The vessels of third countries, which earlier entered North Korea’s ports, cannot arrive in Japan.

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