President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,
I can affirm that at these talks with Ms Park Geun-hye we did indeed discuss a very wide range of bilateral affairs and international issues.
We examined and outlined prospects and paths for developing our relations. The main principles of the approach we have agreed on are set out in the Joint Declaration that we approved. The main emphasis is on a quality increase in our economic ties.
Our bilateral trade now comes to $25 billion. Korean investment in the Russian economy comes to $2.5 billion. More than 600 companies with South Korean capital are working on the Russian market, doing business in practically every sector of the economy.
President Park and I discussed in detail the different areas in which we work together. They include the high-tech sectors, mobile communications, electronics, agriculture, and fisheries. Of course there are some problems too, and we discussed them in depth today. But overall we are happy with the way our relations are developing and will continue to build up our efforts in all sectors, including energy.
In order to further develop our economic ties, we are launching reciprocal initiatives to establish two funds, each with $1 billion in capital.
Let me add that the launch of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus means that South Korean investors can now promote their products more actively not just on the Russian market but on the markets of Belarus and Kazakhstan too.
I think that cooperation in space exploration is a priority area for our countries. A jointly developed rocket was successfully launched at the start of this year from the Naro Test Ground, which was also built with Russian help.
We discussed transport infrastructure development, including projects involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Such projects could be carried out in rail transport, electricity, and gas supply. We agreed to continue our joint efforts to put in place the conditions required for these projects to go ahead. Russia’s view is that bilateral cooperation should not be hostage to politics, but on the contrary, should be something that contributes to unity and reconciliation.
Our Korean friends show interest in using the Northern Sea Route, and this was something we discussed today. In May this year, South Korea was granted observer status in the Arctic Council. This opens up new opportunities for working together in the Arctic.
We will continue actively developing our humanitarian ties. We have taken a big step today towards encouraging contacts between our people and making them easier. As President Park said just now, we have signed the agreement on reciprocal abolition of visa requirements. Our countries’ citizens are now free to travel to each other without a visa for up to 60 days.
We also signed an agreement on establishing cultural centres.
The Russia – Republic of Korea Dialogue forum works closely on developing ties between our civil societies. The forum is holding its third meeting here in Seoul at the moment.
Of course we also discussed the main issues on the international agenda, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Russia and the Republic of Korea share the common goal of guaranteeing stability and security for all countries in the region and achieving nuclear-free status for the Korean Peninsula. This is an issue that can be settled only through diplomatic means, through the six-party talks. Russia supports swift resumption of these talks.
I think that our talks today were constructive and successful. I am sure that they will help us to continue developing our multifaceted bilateral cooperation.
I want to thank you, Ms President, and all of our Korean friends for this work together. Thank you.