President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
Talks with President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in during his state visit took place in a business-like and constructive atmosphere.
We discussed the status of and prospects for bilateral relations and exchanged views on major international issues.
We reached important agreements on further expanding cooperation between Russia and the Republic of Korea, which are fixed in the adopted joint statement and a large package of just signed interdepartmental and corporate documents.
I would like to note that the Republic of Korea is Russia’s important partner in Asia and the Pacific. Relations between our states are multifaceted and based on the principles of good neighbourliness, mutual benefit and consideration for each other’s interests.
During the talks we mentioned the dynamic development of bilateral economic ties. Last year trade went up by 27 percent to $19.2 billion. In January to April trade increased by another 6.5 percent. As a result, South Korea was second among Russia’s major trade partners in Asia and the Pacific.
South Korean investment in the Russian economy reached $1.2 billion. There are over 150 large companies from South Korea in the Russian market. They are investing in many diverse areas – industry, food processing, agriculture and the hotel business.
Naturally, priority attention was paid to energy, a key area of bilateral cooperation. Russia reliably distributes energy resources to the Republic of Korea. Last year South Korean consumers received 12.5 million tonnes of oil, almost two million tonnes of LNG and 26 million tonnes of coal.
In turn, South Korean companies are helping Russia develop its hydrocarbon deposits in the Arctic. Fifteen ice-class liquefied gas carriers are being built in South Korea to transport gas from the Yamal LNG plant. The possibility of our partners from South Korea participating in the Arctic LNG-2 project on gas extraction and liquefaction is under discussion now.
We had quite a detailed discussion of cooperation between regions of the two countries. The plan is to organise the first Russia-South Korea interregional forum before the end of the year.
We proposed that South Korean investors take a more active part in implementing the programmes to develop the Russian Far East. I mean, in particular, modernisation of the free port of Vladivostok, the technological upgrade of the Zvezda shipyard, and maintaining and operating the Northern Sea Route and the Trans-Siberian Railway.
These and other promising projects will be discussed during the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September. We would be glad to see the President of the Republic of Korea there as a guest of honour.
We certainly touched on the subject of cultural and humanitarian cooperation which, in our opinion, is developing in a positive direction. Festivals and days of culture are held annually. Our South Korean partners will participate in the 7th St Petersburg International Cultural Forum as a guest country.
Tourist exchanges are also growing. In 2017, over 260,000 South Korean citizens visited Russia, which is 62 percent more than in 2016. The number of Russian tourists who visited South Korea has also grown to 233,000, a 17 percent increase.
While discussing the international agenda, special attention was paid to the situation on the Korean Peninsula. It was noted that the situation in that region has been gradually improving lately.
Inter-Korean contacts have been re-established. Two meetings between the leaders of North and South Korea resulted in encouraging agreements.
In the same context we would like to mention the results of the recent US – North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12. We welcome Pyongyang’s and Washington’s willingness to resolve the crisis comprehensively through dialogue and talks.
We hope that this will make it possible to considerably reduce the tension around the Korean Peninsula and in the future to create conditions for building a stable security system for all countries in the region.
In conclusion I would like to express my gratitude to Mr Moon Jae-in and all the South Korean delegation for today’s talks.
This is not the end of the South Korean President’s visit to our country. Tomorrow the President will attend a football match between the teams of South Korea and Mexico in Rostov-on-Don. I am sure that it will be an entertaining game and I would like to wish all fans, those from the Republic of Korea included, unforgettable impressions of the World Cup in Russia.
On a related note, I would like to thank all our South Korean friends, Mr President, the government and people of South Korea for the friendly reception of the Russian delegation, Russian athletes and fans during the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.
President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in (retranslated): First of all, let me express my special gratitude to President Putin and the citizens of Russia who welcomed me and the South Korean delegation so warmly.
Mr President, let me congratulate you on the successful progress of the FIFA World Cup. A holiday atmosphere reigns throughout Russia. I think that Russian citizens are so immersed in the World Cup also because Russia’s team is playing so well. South Korean fans also go without sleep to watch the World Cup. I hope this World Cup goes down as a historic championship that will unite the entire planet.
My current state visit to Russia comes nine months after my participation in the third Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. During my first meeting with President Putin back in Hamburg I proposed holding meetings at the highest level regularly and I am happy that this proposal is being acted upon.
Last year, during my visit to Vladivostok, I had a chance to see the limitless potential of the Far East and various opportunities for cooperation between the two countries. Having visited Moscow where nature, civilisation, history and the future coexist harmoniously, I am even more filled with hope for a common future of Russian-South Korean cooperation.
I believe Mr President shares my sentiments. We recognised that we have common goals – to improve our citizens’ lives – and we have agreed to work more actively in those areas of cooperation that will benefit our citizens.
First, together we will jumpstart our countries’ future development via technological cooperation and innovation. For this, we have agreed to build a Russia-South Korea innovation centre and expand the South Korea-Russia Science and Technology Cooperation Centre in Moscow. I expect more support for exchanges, joint start-ups, medium and small businesses. Cooperation in the area of new industry will become closer.
I think that the Republic of Korea’s participation in INNOPROM, Russia’s largest innovative industrial fair, as partner is very significant. I hope that bilateral cooperation in industry, innovation and innovative technology will be promoted.
In addition, I am glad that our countries will begin intergovernmental procedures to launch free trade talks for services and investment. The goal of all initiatives is for the two countries’ citizens to enjoy more economic benefits and for their quality of life to improve. In particular, I expect there will be many good jobs for young people.
Second, our countries will cooperate more closely in order to make our common vision a reality: peace and shared prosperity in the Far East and throughout Eurasia.
At the Eastern Economic Forum last September I suggested building “nine bridges” of cooperation as a strategy for implementing our vision. We, the heads of the two states, again confirmed the importance of cooperation in these nine areas, specifically including railways, electricity generation, gas, ship-building, and port infrastructure.
I hope that the plan of action on these “nine bridges” will be adopted in the next few days and that we will be able to expedite this cooperation.
We agreed to step up exchanges between local regional governments. Seventeen autonomies in the Republic of Korea and regional governments in the Russian Far East will take part in this process. I hope that this will be practical and multifaceted cooperation close to the everyday lives of our citizens.
Third, by expanding cooperation in healthcare and medicine we will improve the health and general wellbeing of our people.
Soon a South Korean hospital will open in the Skolkovo special international medical cluster. I am counting on the active role of healthcare professionals from both countries in the development and in cooperation on cancer, cardio-vascular and nervous system disorder treatment.
We will soon start cooperating on the medicine of the future, involving cutting edge ICT. In the near future it will be possible to diagnose patients remotely with digital equipment installed on a train on the Trans-Siberian Railway. I hope we will be able to save more lives by pooling the efforts of the two countries and pursuing a wise policy of cooperation in healthcare and medicine.
We also agreed to consolidate cooperation to enable the Korean Peninsula and Eurasia to jointly reap the benefits of peace and prosperity.
Preparing for the projects of trilateral cooperation between South Korea, North Korea and Russia, we agreed to work hard on the Korea-Russia bilateral track and carry out the plans that are feasible now. It is possible to begin this work by conducting joint bilateral studies on uniting the railways, electric power grids and gas mains. Recently the Republic of Korea joined the UIC as a full member. I am grateful for Russia’s support in this.
In conclusion I would like to thank President Putin once again for the invitation to pay a state visit to Russia and express my gratitude to the Russian people for their warm reception. Thank you. Thank you for your attention.