Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the closing ceremony of the Russia-South Korea Year of Reciprocal Exchanges, Moscow, October 27, 2021
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to welcome you to the closing ceremony of the Year of Reciprocal Exchanges between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Korea, a large-scale project timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries.
Over the past three decades, which is a short period in terms of history, we have developed, almost from scratch, a solid and ramified network of bilateral cooperation. The current stage in the development of Russian-South Korean ties can be definitely described as dynamic and sustained.
Moscow and Seoul are maintaining a regular political dialogue, including at the top level. Despite a complicated epidemiological situation, we have been trying to make use of every opportunity to discuss current issues on the bilateral agenda and to exchange views on the key regional and international topics.
Today we held fruitful talks with Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea Chung Eui-yong, for a second time this year. We agreed to continue working to expand and deepen Russian-South Korean cooperation and reaffirmed our mutual understanding on a number of regional and global issues of mutual interest.
Our trade, economic and investment cooperation is developing energetically. I would like to make special mention of the numerous joint projects implemented over the past years in Siberia and the Russian Far East, as well as in the Arctic. We are giving priority attention to the implementation of the Nine Bridges concept put forward by President of South Korea Moon Jae-in. It provides for advancing practical interaction in a number of spheres, including energy, transport, shipbuilding, agriculture, education and healthcare. I am sure that our continued consistent efforts in these areas will allow us to attain the goal set by our presidents – to increase mutual trade to $30 billion annually – already in the near future.
We are promoting cultural interaction. The success of guest concerts by performance groups, exhibitions, festivals and other events held over the past few years indicates a growing interest of Russians and Koreans in studying each other’s cultures and way of life and promoted mutual understanding and rapprochement between our nations.
The official opening ceremony for the Russian Seasons on October 2 in Seoul was an important event. As part of the project, there are plans to hold a series of performances and concerts of outstanding Russian performers in the Republic of Korea, and I don’t doubt that the Korean audiences will be highly interested in them.
Today, we are marking the completion of the most ambitious projects in the modern history of Russian-Korean relations. The vast and diverse programme of the Year of Reciprocal Exchanges has been successfully implemented, and over 200 online and offline events have been held.
Regarding the trade and economic segment of the outgoing Year, I would like to single out the business dialogue Russia-South Korea: Further Steps for Successful Bilateral Cooperation, as well as meetings between business leaders on the sidelines of the Sixth Eastern Economic Forum last month in Vladivostok.
One of the highlights in the humanitarian sphere was the conference organised by the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund and the Korean-Russian Art and Culture Society called 30 Years of Russian-Korean Cultural and Art Contacts: Results and Outlook. I would also like to note the Tenth Russian Language Olympiad involving students from Korean universities, international book fairs in Moscow and Seoul and various workshops and competitions.
The implementation of the Year’s programme helped intensify academic and educational exchanges between our countries’ leading universities and analytical centres. In this context, the parties have successfully held research conferences involving famous experts from Russia and the Republic of Korea.
I am delighted to note that the concerned ministries and agencies, as well as representatives of academic circles, public organisations and the business community and, most importantly, young people from both countries were actively involved in preparing and holding events of the Year of Reciprocal Exchanges under the motto Be Friends, Trust, Act.
The project encompasses an impressive territory and many regions in Russia and the Republic of Korea. In September 2020, the Park of Friendship between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea opened in Tyumen. There are plans to hold the Third Russian-Korean Interregional Cooperation Forum in November 2021 in Ulsan.
One can say with confidence that the Year’s high priority task – strengthening friendship and mutual understanding between our nations – has been successfully accomplished.
In closing, I would like to once again thank everyone involved in holding this highly important event and to wish them all the best.