Go to contents

President Roh Invites Putin to Korea

Posted May. 03, 2007 03:01,   


President Roh Moo-hyun extended an official invitation to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to visit Korea, and proposed the acceleration of the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR)-Trans-Korean Railway (TKR) connection, sources said on Wednesday.

“Former Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook, who was sent to Russia as an envoy to relay condolences for the death of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, delivered a personally handwritten letter from President Roh to President Putin on April 25,” a senior official of the Uri Party said.

“Considering that the test runs of the Gyeongui and Donghae lines were agreed to be carried out on the 17th of next month at the 13th inter-Korean economic cooperation talks, it can be assumed that the request was made to resolve the deadlock in business cooperation between the TSR and TKR,” the official added.

After delivering the letter, Han also met Vladimir Yakunin, the president of the Russian Railways and a leading candidate to be the next Russian president, on that night and had in-depth discussions on linking the TSR to the TKR.

Although the railroad connection project between Korea and Russia was agreed upon at summit talks between former Korea President Kim Dae-jung and his counterpart Putin in February 2001, it has been postponed due to changes in inter-Korean relations and disagreements over selecting North Korean rail lines.

Some political analysts, however, point out the request was part of the Roh administration’s efforts to secure political leverage or the so called “North Korean card” ahead of the presidential elections in December 2007 because there was no need to deliver a personal letter, considering Russia has been pushing for the project more than Korea.