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Putin, Moon Meet, Discuss Peace Through Development

Sept. 6, 2017 (EIRNS)—Presidents Vladimir Putin and Moon Jae-in met today on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, which is being held today and tomorrow in Vladivostok. In a statement to the press afterwards, the two men presented an inspiring vision, and several concrete programs, to work together in the transformation of the Russian Far East, while creating the conditions for a solution to the escalating crisis over North Korea, through a development process that will include both the necessary security and the real development of North Korea and the region.

President Putin praised South Korea as "one of Russia’s key partners in the Asia-Pacific Region," with bilateral trade increasing over the past six months by 50%, to $10 billion, while more than 600 Korean companies operate within Russia. He said the two presidents have

"agreed to stimulate the operation of the joint investment and finance platforms with the aggregate capital of $1 billion and to create a portfolio of promising projects, primarily for the Far East, where we can make use of the opportunities offered by the priority development areas and the Free Port of Vladivostok."

He added that the two nations will discuss a trade agreement between South Korea and the Eurasian Economic Union.

Most importantly, Putin said:

"I would like to say that Russia is still willing to implement trilateral projects with the participation of North Korea. We could deliver Russian pipeline gas to Korea and integrate the power lines and railway systems of Russia, the Republic of Korea and North Korea. The implementation of these initiatives will be not only economically beneficial, but will also help build up trust and stability on the Korean Peninsula."

These are the policies which were entirely eliminated under the former government of President Park Geun-hye, under intense pressure form Obama.

Putin also noted

"the potential involvement of South Korean companies in the construction of infrastructure facilities in Russia, including the modernization of Far Eastern ports and shipyards and the joint development of the Northern Sea Route."

On the crisis over North Korea, Putin said that the North Korean nuclear and missile tests violate UNSC resolutions, and pose "a threat to security in Northeast Asia." However, he added:

"At the same time, it is obvious that the Korean problems cannot be settled with sanctions and pressure alone. We must not yield to emotions or try to drive North Korea into a corner. Now is the time for all of us to summon the presence of mind and to avoid taking steps that could escalate tensions."

He said that, "without political and diplomatic methods... it will be impossible to resolve" the crisis." He called for "all parties" to consider the Russia-China proposal for freezing both the North’s testing and the U.S.-South Korea exercises which threaten North Korea’s security.

President Moon Jae-in also addressed the cooperation in the development of the Russian Far East, noting that his government had created a "Northern Economic Cooperation Committee" under his own leadership, to help make Korea a

"leader in the development of the Far East. The Committee is tasked with strengthening economic cooperation with Northeast Asian and Eurasian countries."

He added:

"Next year, we will create a Korean-Russian Regional Cooperation Forum. It should bolster contacts between regional governments in Korea and the Russian Far East."

Moon noted,

"The world’s first icebreaking liquefied-natural-gas tanker was built by a Korean shipbuilding company and transferred to Russia, opening the era of the Northern Sea Route, which until then seemed to lie in the distant future."

Like Putin, Moon said the two had

"agreed to build up the basis for the implementation of trilateral projects with participation of the two Korean states and Russia, which will connect the Korean Peninsula and the Russian Far East.... The development of the Far East will promote the prosperity of our two countries and will also help change North Korea and create the basis for the implementation of the trilateral agreements. We will be working hard on this."