President Moon Jae-in gave the first-ever address to the Russian legislature by a South Korean leader on Thursday, asking Russia to become deeply involved in denuclearization, the peace process, and the future of a more stable Korean Peninsula.
“When a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula is established, economic cooperation between North and South Korea will become regularized and expand to trilateral cooperation involving Russia,” Moon promised the Duma in his remarks.
“Russia and South Korea have huge potential as far as economic, humanitarian and cultural exchanges go. The potential has not been exhausted yet. We can involve North Korea in cooperation after permanent peace is established in the region,” he said.
Moon stated that South Korea is already working with Russia on various infrastructure projects to create “a strong foundation for a Northeast Asia joint economic community.” He specifically mentioned the possibilities of connecting South Korea’s rail network with Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway and building a gas pipeline through North Korea into Russia.
He called on South Korea to combine its information technology with Russian scientific research to “jointly lead the way toward a new era of the fourth industrial revolution.”
Moon also hailed Russia’s increased trade with South Korea, which grew 40 percent in 2017 to reach $19 billion.
Moon is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, attend a banquet, and possibly watch some of the World Cup soccer tournament currently underway in Russia.
“President Moon’s Russia visit … will mark an important milestone in efforts to establish a strategic partnership between South Korea and Russia while also strengthening the friendship and trust between the two leaders,” South Korean National Security Office director Nam Gwan-pyo said when Moon departed for Russia on Thursday.
“Also, the visit is expected to help promote strategic cooperation between the two countries to establish peace in Northeast Asia amid positive developments in security conditions and efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula,” Nam added.
An official with South Korea’s presidential Blue House praised Russia for “making significant contributions in efforts to denuclearize North Korea” and helping to apply economic pressure against Pyongyang.