Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement at a joint news conference following talks with Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea Kang Kyung-wha, Moscow, June 17, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have just held constructive, substantive talks with my colleague Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.
The Republic of Korea is our important partner in the Asia-Pacific Region. We discussed the entire range of our relations in the context of agreements that were reached by our presidents and allow us to pool efforts in all areas.
We noted the dynamic nature of our contacts and emphasised that next year will mark 30 years of our diplomatic relations. We decided to celebrate this anniversary befittingly and planned many events, including a major joint initiative, the Cross Year of Mutual Exchanges.
We analysed the implementation of other agreements between our leaders and mapped out further steps to deepen our political dialogue, including those related to the afore-mentioned anniversary of diplomatic relations.
We are stepping up our trade and economic cooperation. Last year our trade grew considerably to exceed $24 billion. We are also making good progress in investment. The Republic of Korea has invested $2.6 billion in the Russian Federation. Today, we discussed ways of preserving this trend. Guided by mutual interest, Russian investors are also eyeing the South Korean market.
With a view to consolidating positive trends, we paid special attention to the prospects of carrying out major investment projects, emphasising the role played by the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation.
We have good ideas in innovation and high technology. We drew the attention of our colleagues to the proposals sent to Seoul by the Russian state corporations Roscosmos and Rosatom.
I would like to mention that we are starting official talks (we have already reached an agreement to this effect) on drafting an agreement to establish a free trade area in investment and services. In addition, Russia will support communication between the Republic of Korea and the Eurasian Economic Union on trade liberalisation.
We discussed the prospects for trilateral cooperation with the PDRK on railway transiting and construction of a gas pipeline and power transmission lines. For now these plans remain on paper but we are convinced that they deserve practical attention in order to create the conditions for progress in settling the problems on the Korean Peninsula.
We are satisfied with the development of our parliamentary exchanges. Last month, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Moon Hee-sang visited Russia. We are looking forward to South Korean’s MPs attending the Development of Parliamentarism International Forum that will take place in Moscow in late June – early July.
We are developing good cooperation between the security agencies of our defence ministries and cultural contacts. We hope to see representatives of the Republic of Korea at the St Petersburg International Cultural Forum.
We have noted the rapid growth of tourist volumes, which is important for the development of personal contacts. There are plans to organise Russian seasons on the Korean Peninsula in 2021. In 2020 we will mark the 120th anniversary of orthodoxy in Korea. We discussed events that could be timed to this occasion.
As I mentioned, in discussing international issues, we paid special attention to the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia as a whole. We have a common understanding of the need to further promote the negotiating process for a Korean settlement between all parties. Both the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation believe that the only possible way to make progress in resolving sub-regional issues is through a peaceful, political settlement and the drafting of reciprocal steps in this process.
We drew the attention of our partners to the Russia-China initiative on the 2017 roadmap – a plan of action on a comprehensive settlement of the problems on the Korean Peninsula. We have already described this roadmap to the key countries in this issue, and our major partners, including the South Koreans. We urged them to join the discussion on these ideas with a view to bringing the positions of the parties to the talks closer, with consideration for the proposals on the Korean Peninsula that were made by Seoul at one time.
We also cooperate on the issues in the Asia-Pacific Region. We regularly exchange views on developments in the Middle East and North Africa. Together with the Republic of Korea we consistently support the buildup of international efforts on countering terrorism and other current threats like drug trafficking and organised crime. We agreed to continue our joint action in the UN, cooperate on the issues on which our positions coincide and bring closer our views on the problems where they are not yet completely the same.
I think we had a very useful conversation today, and I would like to thank my colleague.