Seoul, Moscow discuss the economy, science

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Seoul, Moscow discuss the economy, science

Korea and Russia will hold a joint committee meeting to discuss ways to further expand economic, scientific and technological cooperation, Seoul’s Finance Ministry said Monday.

During the 17th South Korea-Russia Joint Committee on Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation meeting, slated for Thursday in Seoul, the two countries will discuss a variety of issues, such as developing infrastructure in the Russian Far East region, as well as a potential trilateral project between the two Koreas and Russia amid the decrease in tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon will lead Korea’s delegation, while his Russian counterpart Yury Trutnev will represent the Russian side, according to the ministry. The deputy prime minister-level talks have taken place every year since 1997.

South Korea is stepping up its economic cooperation with Russia in various areas, including energy, shipbuilding, fishing and transportation to foster future growth drivers and stabilize regional security.

Under President Moon Jae-in’s New Northern Policy, which aims to set up a vast economic region that would connect the Korean Peninsula and the Russian Far East to Northeast Asia and Eurasia, Seoul is seeking to build a Eurasian economic community through cooperation between South Korea and Russia.

Potential joint projects include the connection of a cross-border inter-Korean railway with the Trans-Siberian Railway, as well as the establishment of a power grid that connects Russia with the Northeast Asian electricity network involving South Korea, China and Japan.

For such ambitious plans to make headway, North Korea’s participation is essential as projects based on land infrastructure that connect South Korea and Russia would have to go through the North.

Previous governments have pushed, without much success, for cross-border projects with Russia, including a natural gas pipeline linking Russia’s Far East and the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula, and developing industrial complexes along the North Korean border with Russia.

But hopes run high that the recent peace mood on the peninsula may help accelerate such trilateral development projects.

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