President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Korea-Russia diplomatic relations which falls on September 30. During their 35-minute telephone conversation from 4:30 p.m. today, the two leaders had an extensive exchange of ideas on issues of mutual interest, including the anniversary celebration, the assessment of bilateral relations, ways to enhance substantive cooperation and the situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula.
The two presidents shared an understanding that Korea-Russia relations have significantly progressed in a wide range of areas – political, economic, social, cultural and more – over the past 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties. They concurred that, on the foundation of such collaborative achievements, the two countries should further develop friendly, cooperative relations in a more mutually beneficial and forward-looking manner.
Moreover, the two leaders welcomed a decision to extend the “Korea-Russia Year of Cultural Exchanges” on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties until next year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. They agreed to work together to ensure that mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of the two countries will be further cemented by holding various and colorful exchanges as soon as the situation stabilizes.
President Moon expressed the hope that the “Nine Bridges” cooperative projects for Eurasia’s common prosperity would continue to generate and build results. He went on to give high marks to vibrant bilateral cooperation, particularly in shipbuilding and other fields in spite of the restraints caused by COVID-19. President Moon suggested that the two countries step up efforts together to help their ongoing collaborative projects make headway as soon as possible. These include the creation of an industrial complex in the maritime province of Siberia reserved for Korean businesses and the negotiations on a service and investment FTA.
President Putin agreed with Korea’s assessment of progress being made in substantive bilateral cooperation, saying that Korea is one of Russia’s important partners in the Asia-Pacific region. He said that he looks forward to the two countries engaging in vibrant cooperation in artificial intelligence, innovative technologies, medical tourism, agricultural machinery production and the development of a Northern Sea Route as well as oil, natural gas and shipbuilding.
President Moon stressed how important solidarity and cooperation are for overcoming COVID-19. He expressed a desire for close bilateral cooperation in the development of the treatments and vaccines needed to completely end the pandemic as well as in their equitable distribution. Moreover, the President asked for Russia’s participation in the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) headquartered in Seoul.
In reply, President Putin praised Korea’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and said that the country’s epidemic prevention and control measures were of high standards and very impressive. Taking note of a recent agreement to resume regular flights between the two countries, he said Russia is ready to cooperate closely with Korea in response to COVID-19. Regarding Russia’s participation in the IVI, he said he would have its health authorities review the suggestion.
President Moon said that Korea’s Minister for Trade, Yoo Myung-hee, who is running for Director-General of the World Trade Organization, has expertise in trade and leadership and thus she is the best person to develop the WTO. The President asked for Russia’s support for Minister Yoo.
President Putin agreed with the high assessment of Korea’s Minister for Trade. He suggested that the two countries cooperate to break the current protectionist trend and restore trust in the WTO.
The two leaders also exchanged views on the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula.
President Moon said that even under difficult conditions, Korea will continue to strive for complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Peninsula, calling for Russia’s constructive role and support.
Noting the South Korean Government’s efforts to normalize inter-Korean relations, President Putin expressed his hope that dialogue among the concerned countries would resume. He also said Russia is always ready to cooperate in efforts to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula.
President Moon said he looks forward to President Putin’s visit to Korea taking place as soon as the COVID-19 situation is brought under control so that they can have in-depth discussions over the development of bilateral relations.
President Putin replied that he would visit Korea. He expressed that desire by saying that he would be injected with the Russia-made vaccine before visiting the country.