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Russia, N. Korea to discuss debt payment, other issues in Moscow

MOSCOW, February 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and North Korea will meet March 22-23 in Moscow to discuss debt repayment by the reclusive regime and other economic matters, a Russian official said Tuesday.

Russia and North Korea agreed February 27 on a timeframe for the intergovernmental bilateral commission on economic, scientific and technical cooperation to hold its first session since 2000, Yevgeny Anoshin, press secretary of the Russian half of the commission, said.

Konstantin Pulikovsky, the former presidential envoy in the Far Eastern federal district and now head of the Russian technical standards body, Rostekhnadzor, will lead the commission on behalf of Russia, Anoshin said.

"The intergovernmental commission will yield real results only if Russia's and North Korea's finance ministries find during February an acceptable solution to the repayment of Pyongyang's debt to Russia," Pulikovsky earlier said.

According to Russian experts, North Korea owes more than $8 billion to Russia, including interest.

In addition to the debt repayment, the commission is expected to focus on Korean labor in Russia, plans to continue building the trans-Korean railroad and connecting it to the Trans-Siberian rail, and the possibility of delivering and refining Russian crude in North Korea.

Representatives of Russia's economics, transport and finance ministries and the rail monopoly Russian Railways will attend the commission's session, Anoshin said.

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