Posted November. 14, 2013 05:06,
South Korean President Park Geun-hye and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin held a summit in Seoul on Wednesday and agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) calling for South Korea to participate in a Russian-led rail and port development project in North Korea.
The cooperation project is a combination Park`s "Eurasian initiative" and Putin`s foreign policy of giving priority to the Asia Pacific region.
The MOU calls for a consortium of South Korean companies including steel giant POSCO, Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. and Korea Railroad Corp. to participate in the Rajin-Khasan development project by acquiring a stake in RasonKonTrans, a Russian-North Korean joint venture in which Russia has a 30 percent stake and North Korea 30 percent. Participation in the project would give the South Korean consortium to develop and operate a 54-kilometer railroad linking Rajin and Khasan and 21 hectares of land in the North Korean city for 49 years. The project would be the first one under Park`s Eurasia initiative.
The two leaders also agreed to hold transportation ministers` meeting on a regular basis to push for a project to connect the Trans-Korean Railroad with Russia`s Trans Siberian Railway in a medium to long term.
The two sides also signed an MOU calling for South Korean shipbuilders take orders from Russia to build 13 or more liquefied natural gas carriers in return for transferring South Korean shipbuilding technology.
The two countries signed another MOU allowing South Korean companies to participate in a Russian project to build 500-megawatt solar power plant. In addition, they agreed to launch a top-level diplomatic and security dialogue channel for regular exchanges between the Office of National Security of the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and Russia`s Security Council of Russian Federation. Regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the two leaders agreed that they would not tolerate North Korea`s plan to build independent nuclear and missile capabilities or allow the North to have a nuclear country status. However, there were delicate differences between the two countries over the proposed resumption of the six-party talks on denuclearizing the North. While Moscow wanted to resume the talks at an early date, Seoul insisted that Pyongyang take sincere actions first.
The two leaders also signed a bilateral visa waiver agreement, allowing holders of regular passports to visit South Korea or Russia for a stay of up to 60 days without having to get entry visas. They also agreed to open cultural centers in each other`s country.
Meanwhile, the two presidents criticized Japanese political leaders` turn to the right wing, expressing concerns that the potential for strong cooperation in Northeast Asia has not been fully realized due to hurdles caused by Japanese right-wing politicians` historically regressive remarks.