April 23, 2014
On Friday Russia’s parliament voted to write off roughly 90 percent
of North Korea’s debt as Moscow seeks to build a gas pipeline through
the Hermit Kingdom.
This weekend Reuters reported that Russia’s Duma voted to write off roughly $10 billion worth of the debt
that North Korea owes Moscow from the days of the Soviet Union. The
vote ratified an agreement made in September 2012, after a meeting
between then-President Dmitry Medvedev and then-North Korean leader Kim
Jong-il in Siberia in the summer of 2011.
At the time the agreement was first announced, The Guardian reported,
citing Russia’s Finance Minister Sergei Storchak, that Moscow would
forgive “90% of the debt and reinvest $1bn as part of a debt-for-aid
plan to develop energy, health care and educational projects in North
Korea.” Russian experts hailed the agreement as a sign that North
Korea’s leadership was looking to initiate market style reforms in the