LMB and Medvedev Agree to Bolster Ties on Energy and Regional Security

11 11 2010

By Lee Chi-dong (SEOUL, Nov. 10, Yonhap) South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed Wednesday to further develop a “strategic cooperative partnership” between the two sides, especially in countering regional security threats, including the North Korean nuclear program.

The leaders also agreed to work together for “substantial accomplishments” in cooperation on trade, investment, energy, resources, infrastructure and cutting-edge technology. “We agreed to cooperate closely to create conditions for the resumption of the six-way talks (on the North Korean nuclear crisis),” Lee said in a televised press conference after a summit with the Russian leader.

Medvedev arrived here earlier Wednesday for a three-day state visit on the occasion of the G-20 economic summit in Seoul. The nuclear negotiations, also involving the U.S., China and Japan, have stalled for two years amid tensions over the North’s provocative acts highlighted by missile and nuclear tests and a deadly naval attack on South Korea.

Lee added that Seoul and Moscow will make joint efforts to cope effectively with global challenges such as climate change, terrorism, narcotics trafficking, piracy and cyber crimes. He took note of remarkable development in the two nations’ relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1990, including the 2008 agreement to upgrade the bilateral relationship to a strategic cooperative partnership.

“I am very happy that the two nations have become able to develop the relations by one more notch through the visit by President Medvedev this time,” Lee said. Sitting next to Lee, Medvedev stressed the importance of a multilateral security channel, saying, “There is still possibility of conflict in the Northeast Asian and Asia-Pacific regions.”

After the talks, Lee and Medvedev attended the signing ceremony of about two dozen pacts between the two nations, which included memorandums of understanding on partnership on Russia’s economic modernization project, maritime cooperation and easing of visa regulations for South Korean workers and their families in Russia.

Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s key news wire service, and Russia’s Itar-Tass News Agency also signed an agreement on expanding partnership in multimedia news service and co-sponsoring cultural activities between the two nations.

Medevedev pointed out the strengthening of legal and institutional systems via such diplomatic pacts will “buttress” Seoul-Moscow ties. In a 27-point joint statement, the leaders also “attached big meaning” to the measures to broaden human and other exchanges.

Russia proposed South Korea’s participation in a project to set up an “international nuclear energy infrastructure” and a global uranium enrichment center in Angarsk, an East Siberian city, the document said. Seoul is to review the offer.

The two sides said they will try to fully implement earlier agreements on joint development of East Siberia, which is rich in natural resources, and step up efforts for a greater role of the Group of 20 and the success of its Seoul summit this week, it added.

Russia firms up huge natural gas deal with S.Korea

SEOUL, Nov 10, 2010 (AFP) – Russia will ship at least 10 billion cubic metres (350 billion cubic feet) of natural gas a year to South Korea from 2017 under a preliminary deal to be signed Wednesday, Moscow’s energy giant Gazprom said.

Commercial talks will start next month on the deal, Gazprom head Alexey Miller told reporters on the sidelines of a visit by President Dmitry Medvedev to Seoul for a G20 summit this week. “We currently see a growing market in Korea,” Miller said. “Our partners are interested in increasing gas supplies.” Miller said the delivery method — a pipeline, compressed gas or liquefied gas — had yet to be agreed and gave no details on the value of the deal.

When the initial agreement was signed in 2008, an official quoted by Yonhap news agency said the gas imports would be worth about 90 billion dollars over three decades. South Korea, one of the world’s largest consumers of natural gas, is trying to diversify its sources from Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It has a separate 20-year deal to import 1.5 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas from Russia’s Sakhalin Energy every year. Russia holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves, estimated at 1,680 trillion cubic feet.

Medvedev called for a “strategic” partnership with South Korea, in comments at a G20 business summit which precedes the leaders’ gathering Thursday and Friday. “Russia is interested in the arrival of Korean investors. They bring in modern technologies and introduce a modern culture of production,” he said. The Russian leader stressed that apart from trade, “for us it is no less important to learn from our partners and establish with them the so-called modernisation alliances.” Medvedev has pushed for modernisation of Russia’s economy and a lessening of its dependence on oil and gas exports.

S. Korean, Russian watchdogs to cooperate for securities market transparency

SEOUL, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s financial regulator agreed Wednesday with its Russian counterpart to boost cooperation in order to raise transparency in both countries’ securities markets, the Seoul watchdog said. Financial Services Commission (FSC) Chairman Chin Dong-soo signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Vladimir Milovidov, the head of the Federal Financial Markets Service, the local commission said.

The Russian official was in Seoul to accompany President Dmitry Medvedev for the summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The MOU calls for both countries to expand cooperation and share information to raise transparency in their stock and bond markets by helping each other impose sanctions on those who rig prices and disrupt trading, the FSC said in a statement. “The two heads also agreed to further deepen their ties in the financial and securities sectors in the light of the G-20 summit,” the regulator noted.

Leonid Petrov‘s article “Russia’s ‘Power Politics’ and North Korea” can be viewed here…


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