President of The Republic of Korea Roh Moo Hyun: Dear ladies and gentlemen!
I would like to welcome the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, once again. Your visit to Korea for the APEC summit in Pusan took place while our countries are celebrating the 15th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Today President Putin and I held what is already the fourth meeting since our first one at the APEC summit in Bangkok in October 2003. And for this reason I am very glad that our meeting today strengthened our friendship and trust.
First of all we share the opinion that after diplomatic relations were established in September 1990, bilateral relations dynamically developed in various spheres, including in politics, economics and culture. And now they have attained the highest level since that time.
In this context we agreed to further deepen the mutual trust-based and multifaceted partnership between our two countries.
Mr President and I noted with satisfaction that the volume of trade is consistently increasing and last year it exceeded six billion USD. We both feel that the volume of trade can exceed ten billion USD within the next years.
I am especially glad that today Russian and Korean governments signed an action plan which provides for a wide range of cooperative projects in the fields of trade and economics, and that Korea has recognised Russia as a country with a market economy. This creates a basis for the implementation of joint projects.
The parties agreed to apply a maximum amount of effort at the governmental level to promote joint projects in areas of mutual interest such as the trade and investment sectors, outer space, information technology, fishery, and in the fuel and energy sectors. In particular this concerns reliable deliveries of oil and gas from eastern Siberia and the Sakhalin Region to Korea.
We also agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation to promote the South Korean peace and prosperity initiative in Northeast Asia and the Russian programme for the development of Far East and Siberia, policies that will undoubtedly promote peace and prosperity in the region.
I would like to express my gratitude that in President Putin's message to the Korean people, published before his visit, he expressed personal interest and a firm desire to develop mutual relations and establish peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
I am confident that President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin's visit will be an important moment for strengthening the friendship and mutual trust between the two countries.
President Vladimir Putin: Dear ladies and gentlemen!
First of all I would like to say that we are grateful to our Korean partners for the opportunity to discuss our bilateral relations in such detail. This discussion was both comprehensive and productive.
The meeting showed that after the past 15 years relations between the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation have attained a maximum new level of multifaceted trust-based partnership. The basis of this partnership is both the affinity of our approaches in international and regional affairs, and shared aspirations for a new high-quality cooperation in the sphere of economics.
We have once again confirmed our interest in deepening high-level political dialogue and in effectively using inter-parliamentary ties. We confirmed our interest in developing relations between our ministries and departments, and in developing direct exchanges between the citizens of our states.
Today opportunities for expanding economic relations certainly exist. This year our trade and economic relations will most likely reach seven billion USD—a new landmark. It is not the figure itself, but the fact that it grew by a third over the last year. It is a good indicator of the growth of our trade and economic relations.
As you saw, the joint Russian-Korean action plan, a concrete base for expanding trade and economic ties, was signed. Which areas of our cooperation do we consider most promising? Those of energy, transportation, communications, science, information technology and fishing. We are also ready to develop military and technical cooperation. I hope that in the near future our experts will conclude an agreement whereby a South Korean cosmonaut can fly on a Russian spacecraft to the International Space Station.
During the negotiations a great deal of attention was paid to all issues concerning the situation on the Korean peninsula. Russia has always aspired to, and today expresses its unequivocal support for, a dialogue and rapprochement of the Korean states and maintaining a denuclearized Korean peninsula.
We support continuing six party talks. And we consider this negotiating process to be the most reasonable way to peacefully resolve disputes and diminish tensions in the region. I think that cooperation in a tripartite format, between Russia, the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in the energy and transportation sectors can be a very important part of expanding cooperation.
I am convinced that such cooperation will not only be economically advantageous, but will also increase trust on the Korean peninsula.
In conclusion I would like to emphasize that Russian-Korean cooperation today is in the vital interests of our peoples and will strengthen peace and security in Northeast Asia as a whole.
Thank you for your attention.
Question: As far as I understand, you discussed constructing an oil pipeline to Japan and China. Is it possible for South Korea to participate in this project? How would it be possible? And do you intend to construct an independent branch to South Korea? Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: We did not discuss issues related to the possible participation of the Korean party in this project's implementation separately. But this project will be very big and capital intensive. I am convinced that all countries in the region are interested in its implementation, especially since it increases the reliability of their energy supply. And of course our Korean partners can participate in this joint work, first and foremost in its financial structures.
As regards other possibilities and plans to develop pipelines, including gas pipelines, we did discuss these issues. There are interesting projects for constructing such systems, first of all from Sakhalin. This work is possible both in a bilateral format – Russia and the Republic of Korea – as well as in a tripartite one – Russia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea.