Russia Forgives North Korean Debt to Pave Way for Gas Pipeline to South Korea

On April 19, 2014, the Russian parliament approved a plan to forgive nearly $10 billion of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt, leaving some $1.09 billion that will be paid over 20 years and managed by Vnesheconombank.  These remaining payments will reportedly go toward mutual projects, including the construction of a gas pipeline and railway stretching across North Korea to South Korea.  Gazprom has reportedly advocated for such a pipeline for many years, with plans to export to South Korea some 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually.