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Gas pipeline, N.K. on Lee-Medvedev agenda

By Korea Herald

Published : Nov. 1, 2011 - 17:15

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S. Korean leader to speak on cooperation at St. Petersburg State University


President Lee Myung-bak arrived in St. Petersburg on Tuesday for summit talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during which the two are expected to discuss a natural gas pipeline project and North Korea.

Lee has since September expressed a strong intent to bring about a preliminary deal signed between the Korea Gas Corp. and Russia’s Gazprom in 2008 to pipe Siberian natural gas from Vladivostok to South Korea via the North from 2015.

Lee and Medvedev also plan to exchange views on the North Korean nuclear program, political situations in East Asia and the Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Seoul in March on Wednesday.

Russia is one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and a member of the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea.

The U.S. reported unspecified “progress” in its latest talks with Pyongyang in Geneva last week, though it said differences remain. Seoul and Washington have demanded the North immediately halt its uranium enrichment activity before the six-party talks resume. North Korea has been calling for reopening the nuclear talks without preconditions.

Before the summit with Medvedev, Lee is scheduled to attend the closing ceremony of the second annual Korea-Russia Dialogue hosted by the St. Petersburg State University to speak about ways to promote bilateral cooperation. It will be Lee’s third visit to Russia since taking office in 2008, the most by a South Korean president.

Lee will head off to Cannes, France, later Wednesday to attend the annual summit of the Group of 20 major economies to discuss ways to minimize the spillover from the eurozone debt crisis and call for actions to follow up on agreements reached at the Seoul summit last year.

Lee is slated to give a keynote speech at the Business Summit (B20) dinner Wednesday, and hold summit talks with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and then with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday.

At the G20 summit, Lee plans to propose ways to reinforce macroeconomic policy coordination for global economic recovery and to establish financial safety nets, while sharing Korea’s experience of overcoming financial crises in the late 1990s and in 2008.

Lee is also set to call for multilateral development banks’ action plans to beef up investment in developing nations’ infrastructure and advanced economies’ efforts to raise developing countries’ agricultural productivity for the sake of global food security.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)