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‘Assembly speaker strengthens ties with Russia, Czech Republic’

National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug poses for a photo with Russian House Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin on May 24 in Russia. (National Assembly)
National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug poses for a photo with Russian House Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin on May 24 in Russia. (National Assembly)


National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug has wrapped up an official visit to Russia and the Czech Republic, conducting extensive diplomacy focusing on peaceful settlement on the Korean Peninsula and nuclear power plant exports, officials said Monday.

Park’s nine-day trip that ended Sunday came at the official invitation of Russian House Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and Czech Senator Milos Vystrcil.

During the first five days, Park visited Russia to focus on deepening friendship and cooperation between the two countries, according to a statement from the National Assembly.

He met with senate and house speakers and formed a consensus for Russia’s support for inter-Korean dialogue, including inter-Korean parliamentary talks, Korea-Russia cooperation to overcome COVID-19, co-development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, and cooperation for hydrogen economy.

During the talks with House Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin on May 24, Park asked for Russia’s help to convince North Korea that the inter-Korean parliamentary talks are essential for the continued implementation of the inter-Korean agreement.

In response, Volodin said he agreed that inter-Korean dialogue should be strengthened at the parliamentary level and would find a way to help.

On the prospects of a meeting in Korea between President Moon Jae-in and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Volodin said Putin is willing to visit Korea and, if the summit is achieved, would give great impetus to strengthening bilateral ties.

During his three day-visit to Czech Republic, Park met with Czech President Milos Zeman and high-ranking officials to further develop Korea-Czech relations, which were upgraded to a strategic partnership for the first time among Asian countries in 2015, and sought to expand corporate advancement.

The two parties agreed to further cooperation between Korea and the Czech Republic for the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, cooperation on cybersecurity, lithium development in the Czech Republic and investment in electric vehicle battery production plants.

At the talks on May 27, Park too asked for Zeman’s help in engaging North Korea.

In response, Zeman promised to mobilize support, including the Czech Embassy in North Korea, should South Korea need the help.

The following day, Park met with Prime Minister Andrej Babis to discuss cooperation on nuclear power plants. State-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power has submitted a bid for the Czech Republic government’s plan to build a nuclear power plant in Dukovany.

Park told Babis that “Korea is the best partner for nuclear power plants,” and pointed to the success of the United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear power station, the Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi, which was developed by Korea.

“The UAE nuclear power plant has received international acclaim and has already launched commercial operations,” Park said.

Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek, who attended the meeting, said he plans to deliver results of a preliminary safety evaluation to Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power within a few days and finalize the bidding within 14 months.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)

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