Hero's welcome in Pyongyang for North's missile developers

The ferry will also carry Russian tourists going to North Korea, Investstroytrest said, and will provide a faster route for cargo between the two ports, which now takes 22 days traveling by land routes. Whereas Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba posed an immediate threat that required a quick and decisive response, North Korea remains unable to launch a direct nuclear attack against the U.S. with its current arsenal, allowing the USA to continue its slow-burning strategy of "strategic patience" despite a recent spike in tensions.Pyongyang's latest missile test, however, indicates that North Korea is making significant progress towards obtaining a nuclear weapon able to strike the United States mainland.

It is the first time that the Mangyongbong has visited the Russian port since the route between the port of Rajin, in northeastern North Korean, and Vladivostok was established to boost economic cooperation. During the meeting, Trump expressed hope for working closely together with Moon to strengthen the alliance and resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, Hong said.

China has no ports on the Sea of Japan, so travelling to North Korea and on to Vladivostok is the quickest way of reaching Vladivostok by sea.

The ferry's Russian operator, Investstroytrest, said it was purely a commercial venture that was developed with no subsidies or involvement from Moscow.

"The most impressive thing that I heard (from Tillerson) was that sanctions and pressure are not by themselves aimed at harassing North Korea, but are designed to create an opportunity for North Korea's development through opening its doors and scrapping its nuclear program", Hong said.

But Reuters television was able to speak to three passengers, who said they were representatives of Chinese tourism agencies. It showed a plaque with an inscription in Korean which, she said, bore the name of North Korea's long-dead founder Kim Il Sung.

China urged the United States and North Korea to commit to a political decision to solve the "nuclear problem".

China has no ports on the Sea of Japan, while Russian Federation - especially Vladivostok - is home to one of the largest overseas communities of North Koreans. But Russia has taken a more benign stance toward Pyongyang than other major powers.

Speaking in Beijing this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was against North Korea's nuclear programme, but that the world should talk to Pyongyang instead of threatening it.