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Russia, S. Korea pledge to develop cooperation

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in have agreed during talks to develop bilateral cooperation in a range of sectors, the Kremlin said Friday.

In a statement after the talks, Putin said that S. Korea has become Russia's second largest trade partner in the Asia-Pacific region, with the trade turnover increasing last year by 27 percent to 19.2 billion US dollars and by another 6.5 percent in January-April this year.

S. Korean investments in Russia's economy reached 1.2 billion dollars with more than 150 major S. Korean companies investing in a range of industries, including foodstuffs production, agriculture and hotel business, he said.

According to Putin, energy is a key sphere of bilateral cooperation, with Russia providing S. Korea 12.5 million tons of crude oil, nearly two million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and 26 million tons of coal.

In their turn, S. Korean companies contribute to the development of Russian hydrocarbons reserves in the Arctic, and S. Korea is building 15 tankers of icebreaking class to transport gas from the Russian Yamal LNG Arctic project.

The two countries agreed to continue cooperation with a view to create an electricity transmission network between the states of the region, and Russia will continue to supply "goods and services" for nuclear power plants in South Korea.

Russia and S. Korea agreed to work on creating an innovative platform to commercialize Russian and S. Korean technologies for business.

The two sides confirmed their interest in creating a railway corridor connecting S. Korea with Russia and Europe by linking the Trans-Siberian Railway with the Trans-Korean Railway.

Putin also invited S. Korean partners to participate more actively in the development of the country' s Far East, particularly in the modernization of the free port of Vladivostok, renovation of major Zvezda shipyards, upgrading and using the Northern Sea Route and Trans-Siberian railway.

He said these and other projects would be discussed at the Eastern Economic Forum in September and he invited Moon Jae-in to come to the forum as a guest of honor.

A number of bilateral documents were signed following the summit, including a memorandum on the establishment of the Russian-South Korean inter-regional cooperation forum and a joint statement on the creation of a free trade area between the two countries.

Russia and S. Korea agreed to carry out a year of cultural exchanges in 2020 and signed a memorandum on cooperation in social welfare.

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