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Yuri Trutnev held a videoconference meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Korea Hon Nam Gi

Deputy Prime Minister – Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev and Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Korea Hon Nam Gi held a videoconference meeting of the co-chairs of the organizing committee of the Year of Mutual Exchanges between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations and the Russian-Korean joint commission on economic, scientific and technical cooperation.

In his welcoming speech, Yuri Trutnev congratulated the Korean side on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, which the countries celebrated on September 30. He recalled that on the occasion of the anniversary, the presidents and foreign ministers of the two states exchanged congratulatory messages. On September 28, President of Russia Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in.

“Over the past three decades, Russia and the Republic of Korea, starting practically from scratch, have been able to build a solid foundation of bilateral cooperation, which covers all spheres without exception and is confidently striving for the level of strategic partnership,” the Russian Deputy Prime Minister noted.

Of particular importance, according to Yuri Trutnev, is the resumption of regular flights between Russia and the Republic of Korea from September 27, 2020. The Deputy Prime Minister thanked the Korean side for the support provided to the citizens of Russia during the organization of export flights from the Republic of Korea in March-August.

“Today the Republic of Korea is one of the most important economic partners of Russia. An extensive legal framework of more than 60 agreements has been created, which continues to strengthen and covers almost all areas of bilateral relations. In 2019, the volume of Russian-Korean trade came close to $ 25 billion. Over the eight months of this year, due to the situation with the coronavirus, the indicators have dipped somewhat. We expect a gradual restoration of trade after the restrictions are lifted, ”said Yuri Trutnev.

Vice Premier of the Republic of Korea Hon Nam Gi announced the plans of the Korean side to send a special envoy of the President of the Republic of Korea to Moscow to enhance interaction between the countries. “Thanks to this, we will be able to discuss not only the key tasks within the framework of the implementation of the“ nine bridges ”concept, but also other areas of cooperation, including healthcare, interaction on measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection,” he explained. The Russian side expressed its readiness to render assistance to the Korean side.

The meeting discussed the preparation for the anniversary events related to the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, including the schedule of events and the holding of the official opening ceremony.

“Over the past 30 years, our countries have accumulated significant experience of cooperation in all areas. The leaders of the two states maintain a regular dialogue: they have met more than 30 times over the past three decades. Close interaction is carried out through parliaments, governments and relevant departments. Active interaction is carried out at the regional level, including with the use of the capabilities of the Russian-Korean Forum for Interregional Cooperation, the third meeting of which is planned to be held in the Republic of Korea next year, ”said Yuri Trutnev.

According to him, the implementation of an unprecedented joint project – the Year of Mutual Exchanges, timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations – is called upon to play a special role in bringing bilateral cooperation to the pre-crisis level. Organizing committees created in the two countries have prepared a meaningful program of events for the Year, which is held under the slogan “Make friends. Trust. Act”.

Although many planned events had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, some were held online. In particular, a business dialogue “Russia – the Republic of Korea: further steps for the successful development of bilateral cooperation” and an international conference “30 years of Korean-Russian contacts in the field of culture and art: results and a picture of the future” were held in the format of a videoconference. The Republic of Korea took part in the Moscow International Book Fair. Within the framework of the Moscow Book Festival “Red Square”, the ceremony of awarding young writers with the “Lyceum” prize, established by the South Korean company “Lotte”, took place.

In accordance with the agreement to extend the Year of Mutual Exchanges to 2021, reached by the leaders of the two countries during recent telephone conversations, the date and format of the opening ceremony of the Year will be reconciled, as well as the program of events will be updated.

As Hong Nam Gi noted, the Korean side has determined about 160 events. He proposed to identify 30 (taking into account the celebration of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations) image projects, the implementation of which will have a special symbolic meaning.

In turn, as the Special Representative of the President of Russia for International Cultural Cooperation, Ambassador-at-Large Mikhail Shvydkoi, who is the coordinator of the work on the preparation of the Year of Mutual Exchanges between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, informed, the Russian side is working on about 190 events that cover cooperation in the economic sphere , public relations, health care, culture, sports, media cooperation. “Events within the framework of the concept of“ nine bridges ”proposed by the Korean side and 30 image projects of the Year, of which 28 are already underway, will make large events particularly significant and open to the general public,” he said.

They discussed interaction within the framework of the implementation of the concept of “nine bridges”. According to Hon Nam Gi, projects within the framework of this concept allow Russia and the Republic of Korea to concretize bilateral cooperation. The Russian and Korean sides updated the plan for the implementation of the concept of “nine bridges” of Russian-Korean trade and economic cooperation. The Nine Bridges plan, version 2.0, includes the implementation of important bilateral projects in areas such as energy, railways and infrastructure, shipbuilding, ports and shipping, healthcare, agriculture and fisheries, investment, innovation, and culture and tourism. … During the meeting, the vice-premiers signed a joint statement on this issue.

Economic cooperation in the Russian Far East was discussed. Investors from the Republic of Korea, using the ASEZ and FPV regimes, are implementing 10 projects for a total amount of about $ 79.2 million. One of the priority bilateral projects, which is included in the Nine Bridges plan, version 2.0, is the project of the LH Corporation for the construction of an industrial complex in the Primorsky Territory. According to the Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, Alexander Kozlov, the project envisages attracting investments in the amount of USD 200 million to the Far East and the creation of more than 2 thousand jobs. The Ministry has been accompanying the project since February 2019, since the signing of the letter of intent. Ten months later, in December 2019, a binding agreement was signed, according to which the Far East Development Corporation will provide the investor with a land plot of 50 hectares. On February 20, representatives of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, together with colleagues from the Korean Embassy and the investor, examined suitable land in the Nadezhdinskaya ASEZ. The Russian side is ready to ensure the construction of a road to this section, the investor undertakes the vertical planning of the territory.

Cooperation and implementation of investment projects in the Arctic zone of Russia were discussed. According to Alexander Kozlov, large investment projects are being implemented in the Russian Arctic with the participation of foreign investors from China, Japan and France. These are the projects of the Novatek company for the construction of modern plants – Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2. The Republic of Korea participates in these projects as a contractor. The Korean Daewoo shipyard has built and is already operating 15 ice-class LNG carriers, contracts for another 6 LNG carriers for the Arctic LNG 2 project were signed this month.

The Russian side assumes that the further construction of gas carriers will be carried out at the Russian Zvezda shipyard in cooperation with its technological partner – the Korean company Samsung. These projects will become part of the development of the Northern Sea Route. The Minister emphasized that, despite the pandemic and the associated restrictions in world trade, the volume of traffic along the Northern Sea Route continues to grow and in nine months of 2020 reached 24.5 million tons. To create a global transport corridor of year-round operation, Russia continues to build up its icebreaker fleet. The new nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika was commissioned last week. Four more such icebreakers will be built in the next six years. The heavy-duty icebreaker Leader has also been contracted. Its construction will be completed in 2027. “We are interested in attracting investments, including from the Republic of Korea, in the development of seaports along the Arctic coast, the development of a bunkering and logistics system,” he added.

It was noted that work continues on the creation of the Russian-Korean Investment Fund. A similar mechanism is successfully operating in the framework of partnerships between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a number of other sovereign funds. Work is underway to structure the terms of cooperation with the participation of a number of financial structures of the Republic of Korea.

The issues of delivery of Russian helicopter technology to the Republic of Korea in repayment of the state debt of Russia were considered. According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Alexander Morozov, JSC Russian Helicopters is working with interested Korean customers of helicopter technology.

They noted the readiness to continue work within the framework of the preparation of an agreement on free trade in services and investments between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, the conclusion of which should serve to strengthen economic cooperation and investment cooperation between the two countries.

“The Republic of Korea is an important trade partner of Russia, and we strive to fully realize the existing potential for cooperation. We pay special attention to the practical implementation of the “nine bridges” plan. Some of the issues that we discussed today, including the construction of an industrial complex in the Primorsky Territory, the creation of a Russian-Korean co-investment fund, are already an integral part of this plan, “Yuri Trutnev summed up the meeting.

The vice-premiers agreed to hold the 19th meeting of the intergovernmental commission at the agreed time in Seoul after the stabilization of the epidemiological situation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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