Russia launches ferry connecting to North Korea

A Russian company has started the first ferry service that connects the nation to North Korea on Thursday.

The venture is aimed at serving tourists and North Korean workers.

The director of InvestStroiTrest, the company who owns the boat, told AFP the ferry will travel weekly from Vladivostok to the North Korean port of Rajin.

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"It's a trading economic zone, so [tourists] don't require visas, only an invitation, which the tourist firms would provide," Baranov told AFP.

Baranov said the ferry will also "service cargo because currently, the logistics are horrible, it takes 22 days for cargo to get from Vladivostok to Rajin."

The boat reportedly features 40 cabins, bars and a karaoke room.

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The U.S. state department has issued travel warnings, strongly urging Americans not to travel to North Korea. If Westerns tourists do decide to visit the secretive nation, there are very strict rules.

According to TIME, Americans are only allowed to stay in one hotel in Pyongyang. There are also very strict rules on what tourists can take photos of and where in the country they can visit. If an American is detained for any reason, the U.S. does not have any diplomatic way to help you.

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Tensions between North Korea and the U.S. have heightened since President Donald Trump took office in January. In their latest show of force, North Korea successfully launched a medium long-range rocket over the weekend.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised there will be more nuclear and missile tests and warned Americans, saying his country's weapons could strike U.S. mainland.