Bahk urges closer ties with neighbors

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Bahk urges closer ties with neighbors

South Korea needs to expand its cooperative ties with China and Russia to better insulate the country from geopolitical risks caused by North Korea’s saber rattling, Seoul’s top economic policy maker said yesterday.

Minister of Strategy and Finance Bahk Jae-wan told a gathering of economic policy makers that even though the country was not affected by the North’s long-range rocket launch on Friday, there is a need to set up a new policy initiative regarding the Stalinist state.

He stressed the need to forge closer ties with China and Russia as they are positioned to exert a positive influence on the North, and because they have become important trading partners in the past two decades. Seoul must also maintain close relations with the United States and Japan to alleviate geopolitical risks, he added.

Trade with China, the world’s No. 2 economy, has grown 35-fold since the normalization of diplomatic relations.

“There is a need to closely follow efforts by China to build up its local market,” the finance minister said, adding such efforts can open new opportunities for South Korean companies.

Regarding Russia, Bahk said Moscow is moving to become one of the top five economic powerhouses in the world within 10 years. Such a target, if reached, could open fresh business opportunities for South Korea, the minister said. Russia is also striving to become a member of the World Trade Organization. Yonhap

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