The Korea Herald


[Editorial] Seoul-Moscow ties

Summit should pave ways for development scheme

By 김케빈도현

Published : Aug. 28, 2016 - 16:39

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South Korea and Russia are set to reinforce government- and business-level cooperation on Moscow’s plans to develop the Russian Far East.

Russia plans to support Korean firms investing into its projects to build cold storage facilities and modernize harbors in Vladivostok, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

Outlook on the bilateral economic ties is bright, as Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho shared the goals and emphasized the importance of partnership with his counterpart Yuri Trutnev at a meeting in Seoul last week.

A decent opportunity is ahead as President Park Geun-hye is scheduled to visit Vladivostok on Sept. 2-3 as many local businesses are pinning great hopes on her coming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The two-day Eastern Economic Forum will be held in Vladivostok, where the two leaders could possibly explore ways to develop Russia’s underdeveloped regions.

Korean businesses need to acknowledge that the eastern region of Russia has been at the core of the country’s balanced regional development project. They also should make the best of Russia’s strategy to expand its geopolitical presence in East Asia. Simultaneously, Seoul officials should present detailed plans to restore formerly bilateral projects like the railway construction, which should be re-discussed in a sincere manner.

In addition, there is a need to activate talks for a free trade agreement between South Korea and the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, which will have Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan as members.

A core prerequisite for vitalization of the economic collaboration would be easing political and diplomatic hurdles involving the North Korean issue via the summit.