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Can South Korea chase two hares at once? It seems that closer relationship with Russia could be key to help catch them
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승인 2017.09.08  15:35:03
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▲ Russian soldiers in 1890s by Wikipedia

In 1860, Russia took over the Outer Manchuria from the Qing Dynasty under the Convention of Beijing. Here it bordered Joseon, a former Korean kingdom that lasted from 1392 and 1897.

After this time, Russia constantly demanded trade and finally, in 1884, the Korea-Russia Security Treaty was made.

Following this treaty, Russia has been there at many important moments in Korea’s history.

In 1896, King Gojong - the twenty-sixth king of Joseon - spent a year running the government of Korea from a base at the Russian legation in Seoul.

In 1905, due to the Russo-Japanese War and the Russian Revolution, Russia disappeared from the Korean Peninsula for a while until the Soviet Army carried out military exercises in North Korea in 1945.

After a period where relations with Russia had cooled due to Russia’s involvement with North Korea, the Roh Tae-woo government (South Korea’s government from 1988 to 1993) decided to normalize relations through the Nordpoitik policy.

Since that, the Korean the strength of the relationship between Russia and Korea has wavered depending on the government in charge.

▲ President Moon is giving a speech at the 3rd East Economic Forum Photo courtesy The Blue House

On Sept. 7 this year, President Moon Jae-in attended the 3rd East Economic Forum held at the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok and delivered a keynote address.

During the address, he stated that "the cooperation of Northeast Asian countries to succeed in the Far Eastern development is another fundamental solution to the North Korea’s nuclear issue.”

As well as this he introduced a New Northern Policy. President Moon said, "If we succeed in economic cooperation in the Far East, North Korea will realize that it is a great opportunity to participate in it and know that it is a path to establish peaceful prosperity without nuclear weapons."

President Moon, aware of the recent tensions on the Korean Peninsula, said, "although the ambitious projects that have been discussed for the South Korea-North Korea-Russia trilateral cooperation are difficult to start right now, South Korea and Russia should start first."

▲ President Moon is talking to the president Vladimir Putin Photo courtesy The Blue House

He also suggested economic cooperation between the two countries about gas, electricity, railways etc.

President Moon said, "If the inter-Korean relations are normalized in the future, gas could be piped to South Korea from Russia through North Korea.” He added that, “the New Northern Policy of mine is in line with the New Eastward Policy of President Vladimir Putin.”

President Moon said, "We will actively participate in the development of the Russian Far East" and “we propose that the Nine-Bridges will be simultaneously established between Russia and South Korea."

He explained that the nine bridges mean “gas, railway, port, electric power, Arctic route, shipbuilding, jobs, agriculture, and fisheries.”

Moon continued by saying that "we want to participate not only in gas imports from Russia but also in energy development cooperation" adding that, "the connection between our railway and the Trans-Siberian Railway(TSR) will be a link between the Eurasian continent and the ocean."

He suggested countries in the region will be starting a consultation to build a "Super Grid” - a wide area transmission network that makes it possible to trade high volumes of electricity across great distances - in Northeast Asia.

He said that "if Russia's Energy Super Ring is combined with the wind power and solar power of the Gobi Desert and turned into a Super Grid, then the world's largest energy community can be formed. This could be the basis for the development of a Northeast Asian economic community and multilateral security system like the European Union. "

President Moon stressed, "at the Korea-Russia summit yesterday, we agreed to have the forum for local government cooperation every year to promote practical cooperation and human exchanges among small and medium-sized businesses as well as local governments in the two countries."

Mr. Moon also said, “he hopes to push ahead with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Eurasian Economic Association (EAEU) led by Russia.”

▲ President Moon meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this morning Photo courtesy The Blue House

Meanwhile, Moon met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this morning before attending the East Asian Economic Forum and agreed to cooperate with the United Nations Security Council resolution. This includes stronger sanctions against North Korea including exports of crude oil to North Korea.

Moon and Shinzo Abe agreed to persuade China and Russia to join the sanctions in order to cut off crude oil to North Korea and the Korean and Japanese leaders agreed that they would further strengthen its sanctions and put pressure on North Korea through dialogue.

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