SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's trade with Russia's Far Eastern region nearly tripled in the first quarter from a year earlier, data showed Tuesday, amid intensifying efforts by the two neighbors to strengthen bilateral relations.
According to the data by South Korea's Consulate General in Vladivostok, the trade between the North and Russia's Far Eastern region totaled US$10.69 million during the January-March period, up from $3.72 million tallied a year earlier.
Russia's exports to the North came to $10.67 million, while the North's exports to the Russian border region amounted to $20,000, the data showed.
Oil-related products, including refinery fuel, accounted for the largest portion of the Far Eastern region's exports to the North, with $9.08 million worth of such goods shipped across the border.
The spike in border trade came as Pyongyang is apparently pushing to consolidate its ties with its neighboring countries, including Russia, to ease the impact of crushing global sanctions.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un traveled to the Russian border town of Vladivostok in late April for his first-ever summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They agreed to boost bilateral cooperation in various areas.
(News Focus) Seoul's push for individual tours to North meaningful but many hurdles ahead: experts
Surging U.S.-Iran tensions feared to dilute U.S. focus on N.K. nuke talks
Biegun expected to seek breakthrough in N.K. talks ahead of year-end deadline
Tensions rise to perilous point in U.S.-NK nuke diplomacy
Shorter firing interval indicates N.K.'s super-large rocket launcher almost ready for operation: experts