- Ministry News
Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Holds 14th Meeting of Korea-Russia Far East and Siberia Sub-committee
1. At the 14th meeting of the Korea-Russia Far East and Siberia Sub-committee held in a virtual format from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, December 18, Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Kim Gunn had an in-depth discussion with Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Alexander Krutikov on ways to promote substantive cooperation between Korea and Russia with a focus on the Russian Far East.
° At the request of the Russian side that expressed strong hope for cooperation in the Russian Arctic region, the two sides decided to call the current “Far East and Siberia Sub-committee” as “Far East and Arctic Sub-committee” from the 15th meeting and on, and to fully discuss cooperation in the Russian Arctic.
2. The two sides noted that the two countries have enhanced their friendly and cooperative relations through active communication, including telephone conversations between the Presidents and between the Prime Ministers, consultations between the Deputy Prime Ministers, and the operation of consultative mechanisms in each area, despite the restrictions in face-to-face exchanges due to the COVID-19 in the year 2020, which marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Korea-Russia diplomatic relations.
° Deputy Minister Kim underscored the significance of cooperation with the Russian Far East, which accounts for 50 percent of the total trade and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries; and noted with appreciation that the presence of Korea’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Far East region has lately been growing as a result of the Russian government’s efforts to attract investment, such as its Advanced Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) policy, and Korea’s steady investment in Russia in response to those efforts.
° Deputy Minister Krutikov suggested continuing efforts to expand bilateral substantive cooperation in the Russian Far East and Arctic in order to recover bilateral trade and people-to-people exchanges that have been scaled back due to COVID-19.
3. The two sides, welcoming the conclusion of “an implementation agreement for the construction of a Korea-Russia Economic Cooperation Industrial Complex in Primorsky Krai (KICP)” between Korea Land and Housing Corporation (LH) and Russia’s Far East Development Corp. during the Sub-committee meeting, agreed to work actively together for this key nine-bridge cooperation project to move successfully forward.
° Deputy Minister Kim stressed that the KICP could become the base for expanding bilateral investment cooperation on industrial infrastructure in the Russian Far East, including the entry of Korean SMEs into the region; and asked both the central government of Russia and the provincial government of Primorsky Krai to cooperate actively in establishing the KICP.
° Deputy Minister Krutikov emphasized that the KICP is a case of successful cooperation in which bilateral cooperation in the Russian Far East has produced substantive progress, adding that he will fully cooperate for the successful implementation of the KICP project.
4. The two sides also agreed to work together to achieve tangible results through smooth cooperation in other fields, including health and medical care; agriculture and fisheries; transportation, logistics and energy; innovation; and Arctic affairs.
° Deputy Minister Kim took note of the Russian government’s efforts to build a special international healthcare zone in the Far East and asked that Russia’s domestic procedures regarding the special zone, including law amendments, make quick progress, facilitating Korean medical institutions’ smooth inroads into the special zone. The Deputy Minister also conveyed the concern of Korean farming enterprises operating in Primorsky Krai over the grain export restriction measure that the Russian government will implement in the first half of the year 2021, asking the Russian government to minimize the impact of the measure on Korean enterprises’ activities.
° Deputy Minister Krutikov voiced hope to hold a briefing session on the Russian government’s “system for investment in the Russian Arctic” for the Korean government and companies, and the two sides agreed to hold the session in early 2021 in a virtual format.
5. The two sides noted with appreciation that “the Korea-Russia Interregional Cooperation Forum,” successfully held twice since its launch in November 2018, has established itself as a major platform for cooperation between provincial governments of Korea and the Russian Far East; and expressed hope that the Forum would continue to contribute to boosting exchanges and cooperation between the two countries’ provinces in diverse areas, including economy, trade, education and culture.
° Deputy Minister Krutikov voiced hope that provincial governments of not only the Russian Far East but also the Russian Arctic region would be able to participate in “the 3rd Korea-Russia Interregional Cooperation Forum” to be held in Ulsan in 2021.
° Deputy Minister Kim, welcoming the idea, expressed hope that the 3rd Forum, which will take place in conjunction with the commemorative events for the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations extended until next year, would serve as an opportunity to facilitate exchanges between the two countries’ private sectors and provincial governments, which have decreased somewhat due to COVID-19.
6. Toward the end of the Sub-committee meeting, the head delegates of the two countries signed the agreed minutes that contain the outcome of the meeting and the future direction of cooperation in the Russian Far East and Arctic.
7. The Sub-committee meeting is seen to have served as an opportunity to expand the scope and the depth of bilateral substantive cooperation despite the restrictions in face-to-face exchanges due to COVID-19 by making achievements, including the conclusion of “the implementation agreement for the construction of the KICP” and adopting the agreed minutes reflecting the specific way forward for cooperation, such as increasing substantive cooperation in the Russian Far East and expanding cooperation to the Russian Arctic.