Russia is making an aggressive proposition to South Korea for capital attraction and joint investment in North Korea.
According to the government, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev is scheduled to visit Seoul early next month to ask for its investment in the Far East region of Russia and joint investment in the North. In this context, Russia's Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka visited Seoul on Nov. 27.
He met with Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-jik and Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Lee Ju-young that day. He discussed Korean companies’ participation in an economic development zone to be set up by 2017 with the former, while having talks with the latter on the issue of port modernization projects in Vladivostok and Vostochny.
On Nov. 28, he is meeting with Minister of Unification Ryu Kil-jae to discuss Russian companies’ business in the Kaesong Industrial Complex, trilateral cooperation among both Koreas and Russia and the Siberian bituminous coal transport operation currently underway as a part of the Rajin-Khasan Project. It is said that he may also suggest the participation of Korean corporations in Mostovik’s US$25 billion railway modernization project in the North.
Mr. Alexander Galushka met with North Korean Workers' Party Secretary Choe Ryong-hae when the latter visited Russia between Nov. 17 and 24. Therefore, he is expected to talk about the result of the visit with the South Korean government at this time. The minister flew to Pyongyang in March and October for economic cooperation between the North and Russia and Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev visited Pyongyang in April for the same purpose.
In the following month, Russia decided to write off North Korea’s US$11 billion loan taken out during the Soviet Union era. Also, the two countries are accelerating their economic cooperation by means of ruble-based trade settlements, construction of Rajin Quay 3, and railroad modernization. Experts point out that Russia’s ongoing efforts in the Korean peninsula are to tackle its economic difficulties caused by the economic sanctions by the United States and the EU, and the drop in international petroleum prices.