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18th ROK-Russia Policy Consultation Takes Place

  • Date : 2018-05-18 11:25:54
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1. Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Yoon Soon-gu, together with Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific affairs Igor Margulov of Russia, held the 18th Republic of Korea-Russia policy consultation and luncheon in Moscow on May 17, during which the two senior diplomats exchanged a wide range of views on the way forward for the bilateral relations, ways to step up substantive bilateral cooperation and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.


2. The two sides took note of the rapid advances in the bilateral relations, as can be seen from some 40%-percent growth in the two-way trade to $19 bln in 2017 from the year before and the record-high number of 510,000 people engaging in people-to-people exchanges in the same year. They agreed to remain highly cooperative with each other in 2018 in various areas, including political affairs, economy and people-to-people exchanges.


° Deputy Minister Yoon particularly noted with appreciation that close summit-level exchanges -- the two meetings and the three telephone conversations -- since the launch of the new ROK government helped to build a political momentum for advances in the ROK-Russia relations; and voiced hope that high-level exchanges will continue during the FIFA World Cup Russia in June, the INNOPROM-2018 International Industrial Fair in Russia in July and other major events in 2018.


The summit-level ROK-Russia exchanges in 2017 were the telephone conversation in May to congratulate President Putin on his inauguration; the meeting in Hamburg in July on the sidelines of a G20 summit; the telephone conversation regarding North Korea’s sixth nuclear test and the ROK President’s visit to Russia for the third Eastern Economic Forum in September; and the meeting between President Moon and Prime Minister Medvedev in November on the sidelines of an East Asia Summit meeting.


The ROK and Russian Presidents discussed over the phone on April 29, 2018, the outcome of the recent inter-Korean summit meeting.


° Deputy Minister Margulov shared Deputy Minister Yoon’s view that the ROK and Russia are about to take a fresh leap in the bilateral relations in the wake of the launch of the new government in the former country; extended deep appreciation to the ROK government for its hospitality during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February 2018, including at the meeting between President Moon Jae-in and Russian athletes; and suggested that the two countries, by drawing upon the summit-level political commitment to enhancing the bilateral ties, actively seek to make a success of the cooperation projects discussed at the bilateral summit talks in September 2017.


3. Deputy Minister Yoon expressed hope that the ROK and Russian governments, in particular, will step up cooperation in improving the quality of life of the two countries’ nationals and in building engines for future growth in the sectors of health and medical care, science and technology; in developing Russia’s Far east, mainly through the “nine bridges” projects proposed by the ROK at the bilateral summit talks in September 2017; and in promoting convenience of the two countries’ nationals and boosting tourism, sports and people-to-people exchanges.


The “nine bridges” are gas exploration, railway construction, port construction, power generation, the Arctic route development, shipbuilding, job creation, farming and fishing industry.


° Deputy Minister Margulov, mentioning that the Russian government stands ready to work with the ROK government in the areas suggested by the latter, voiced hope that further legal and institutional groundwork will be laid in various sectors of cooperation.


4. Deputy Minister Yoon shared with the Russian side results of the summit talks between the ROK and North Korea on April 27, and among the ROK, Japan and China on May 9 as well as other developments regarding the Korean Peninsula. The two sides expressed wish for the success of the US-North Korea summit talks slated to take place in Singapore on June 12 and agreed to work closely together toward the denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.


° The two sides also drew a common understanding that as a result of the inter-Korean summit talks, conditions in favor for ROK-North Korea-Russia trilateral cooperation are in the making. With the ROK and Russian Presidents having shared the view on the need to resume ROK-North Korea-Russia trilateral cooperation projects in their telephone conversation on April 29, the ROK and the Russian sides agreed to explore ways to seek cooperation in the fields of railway, electricity and gas, including joint studies in these areas between relevant agencies of the two countries.


5. The policy consultation, which came merely six months after its 17th round held in Seoul in November 2017, served as an opportunity to review the progress in the implementation of the follow-ups on the bilateral summit meeting held in September 2017 and to seek specific ways to work together to hold high-level exchanges during main events in 2018 as well as to step up substantive cooperation.



* unofficial translation