Rus­sia says talks un­der­way for Putin’s Seoul visit

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL - By Kim Yoo-chul [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

A se­nior Rus­sian politi­cian said Tues­day talks were un­der­way to make Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s visit to Seoul hap­pen.

“The South Korean gov­ern­ment sug­gested Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin visit Seoul. We’re well aware of this. Talks are un­der­way in Krem­lin on the specifics of Putin’s Seoul visit,” Valentina Matviyenko, chair­woman of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil, was quoted as say­ing dur­ing her meet­ing with South Korean Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Moon Hee-sang in Bel­grade, Ser­bia.

In June this year, Pres­i­dent Moon asked Putin to visit Seoul “at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble date” dur­ing the South Korea-Rus­sia sum­mit on the side­lines of their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the G20 sum­mit in Osaka, Ja­pan.

Speaker Moon also asked the Rus­sian politi­cian to “per­suade” North Korea to dis­man­tle its nu­clear pro­gram and to strengthen eco­nomic ties be­tween Seoul and Moscow.

“A del­e­ga­tion of North Korea’s par­lia­ment will visit Rus­sia next week. Please tell them de­nu­cle­ariza­tion should be achieved to push for var­i­ous eco­nomic projects on rail­ways, nat­u­ral gas and elec­tric­ity,” Moon said. The speaker was trav­el­ing to Ser­bia to par­tic­i­pate in the 141st assem­bly of the In­ter-Par­lia­men­tary Union in the Ser­bian city.

Dur­ing the talks, Moon ex­pressed his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Rus­sia’s con­tin­u­ous back­ing for Seoul’s “en­gage­ment-cen­tric” North Korea pol­icy in achiev­ing ver­i­fi­able de­nu­cle­ariza­tion on the Korean Penin­sula.

Along with China, Rus­sia is another cru­cial ally for North Korea, also hav­ing a per­ma­nent seat in the United Na­tions. North Korea re­fused to ac­cept an of­fer for low-level sanc­tions re­lief by the United States at re­cent work­ing-level nu­clear talks in Swe­den. Putin ear­lier sug­gested pro­vid­ing firm guar­an­tees of the North’s regime se­cu­rity as the core pre­req­ui­site and con­di­tion in ad­vanc­ing the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion di­a­logue.

With eco­nomic sanc­tions im­posed on the North, Py­ongyang and the Krem­lin have stepped up ex­changes in re­cent years, sign­ing a num­ber of agree­ments and hold­ing fol­low-up meet­ings on var­i­ous ar­eas of co­op­er­a­tion and joint eco­nomic projects.

Yon­hap

South Korean Na­tional Assem­bly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, left, shakes hands with Valentina Matviyenko, chair­woman of Rus­sia’s up­per house Fed­eral Coun­cil, dur­ing a meet­ing in Bel­grade, Ser­bia, Oct. 14, af­ter at­tend­ing the 141st assem­bly of the In­ter-Par­lia­men­tary Union.

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