he head of Russia's state-owned railways says investors are holding talks with North Korea on a plan to export Russian crude oil to the impoverished country.

Gennady Fadeyev says the project would involve building a railway line linking the Russian border town of Khasan to an oil refinery in the North Korean port of Najin.

North Korea has experienced energy shortages since the United States cut off oil shipments in 2002 over allegations Pyongyang was attempting to build nuclear weapons.

Russia is one of the six nations involved in talks aimed at convincing Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program. The Kremlin has had cordial relations with North Korea dating back to the days of the Soviet Union.