1. Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, during his visit to Russia at the invitation of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia, held a meeting and a working luncheon with his Russian counterpart at the Russian Foreign Ministry on June 13. On the occasion, the two top diplomats discussed in depth ways for the Republic of Korea and Russia to step up their substantive cooperation and to coordinate on the North Korean nuclear issue, as well as situations in key regions and the global community as a whole.
2. The two Ministers noted with appreciation that, as the Presidents of the ROK and Russia had shared the view at their bilateral summit talks on the sidelines of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), the two countries, which had marked their 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2015, have been seeing their strategic cooperative partnership move steadily forward in various sectors, including political affairs, economy and culture. They agreed to seek further substantial advances in the partnership.
° In particular, the two top diplomats, citing the Eurasia parliamentary speakers' meeting successfully co-hosted by the parliamentary speakers of the ROK and Russia in April 2016, took note of active high-level exchanges between the two countries in various fields over the past six months since the bilateral summit talks in November 2015. The two sides also discussed the possibility of holding bilateral summit talks.
° With respect to substantive cooperation, the two sides agreed to broaden the scope of cooperation to include not only trade, automobiles, electrics, electronics, agriculture and fisheries but also the Arctic development, healthcare, medical service, environment and other new engines for future growth, and thereby to restore the volume of the two-way trade, the largest of which, 26 billion US dollars, had been reached in 2014.
° The two sides, bringing renewed attention to their Presidents’ agreement to create synergy from the ROK’s Eurasia Initiative and Russia’s new oriental policy and drawing a common understanding that the two countries have great potential for mutually beneficial economic cooperation particularly in Russia’s Far East region, agreed to work more closely together in the development of the region.
° To this end, they agreed to put into full use the potential of the bilateral platforms for investment and lending, and to seek specific ways to work together in that regard at the meeting of the deputy prime ministerial joint economic committee in August and a meeting of the vice-ministerial Far East and Siberia Subcommittee. In addition, the ROK government, at the invitation of the Russian government, will take an active part in the second Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September.
° With regard to bilateral cooperation in Eurasia, the two sides hailed the ROK’s plan to hold a week-long event on “Eurasia-Arctic route connectivity” starting on June 14 in St. Petersburg and Murmansk in a follow-up to the “Eurasia Express” event held in the summer of 2015. They voiced hope that the event will help set the future direction of bilateral cooperation.
3. The two top diplomats, both perceiving the North Korean nuclear issue as the biggest obstacle to the ROK and Russia’s efforts to promote various forms of cooperation, reaffirmed that North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in early 2016 and its series of test-launches of ballistic missiles pose a grave threat to not only peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia but also the security of the international community. They also reaffirmed that in order to lead North Korea in the right direction, the international community should be united in thoroughly implementing UN Security Council resolutions, and agreed to coordinate more closely with each other in this regard.
° In particular, Minister Lavrov stressed that North Korea should unconditionally denuclearize itself; that North Korea will never be recognized as a nuclear weapons state; that UN Security Council Resolution 2270, an expression of the united commitment of the international community, should be thoroughly implemented in order to make North Korea change its attitude; and that Russia will make every effort to that end.
° Minister Yun highlighted the need to make North Korea change its strategic calculus, saying that North Korea, through its nuclear test and series of ballistic missile test-launches, is posing a head-on challenge to the international community’s nuclear non-proliferation efforts at a time when a nuclear deal had been reached with Iran and when the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is being commemorated in Vienna. He commended Russia for its sincere implementation of Security Council Resolution 2270 as well as its plan to continue doing so.
4. With respect to the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative, which the ROK government is implementing to promote peace and build trust in the region, Minister Yun extended appreciation to the Russian government for its active cooperation. The two Ministers agreed to continue consultations on relevant efforts.
5. The two Ministers exchanged views on such global issues as the situations in Ukraine and Syria, and terrorism, and agreed to continue close consultations with each other on such issues.
6. After their meeting, the two top diplomats signed the “plan of exchanges between the ROK and Russian Foreign Ministries for the years 2016 and 2017.” They agreed to intensify consultations between the two Foreign Ministries in diverse areas, including bilateral relations, the North Korean nuclear issue, the UN, the Arctic, information security, terrorism, public relations and consular affairs, in accordance with the plan.
7. Minister Yun’s visit to Moscow served as another milestone in stepping up coordination on the North Korean nuclear issue with Russia, which the ROK has been communicating closely with, including on the sidelines of multilateral meetings, and in seeking specific ways to increase substantive cooperation between the two countries.
° The two Ministers agreed to consult with each other on the possibility of Minister Lavrov visiting the ROK at a mutually convenient time.
* unofficial translation