Address by H.E.Mr.Gleb A.Ivashentsov,
Ambassador of the Russian Federation, at the 2nd FNF-IFES
in Northeast Asia and North Korea”
(Seoul, May 29th, 2009)
I thank the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of the Kyungnam University and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for the invitation to take part in the Roundtable Session on Peace and Prosperity of Northeast Asia.
I appreciate your interest in interaction with Russia in determining the present and the future of Northeast Asia. That interest is reasonable. Russia has been, it is and will be an integral part of Northeast Asia. In no other region are internal and external interests of Russia so interconnected as in Northeast Asia. For the future of Russia as a great power to much extent depends on the economic, technological and social uplift of Siberia and the Russian Far East. We believe that the utilization of the natural and other resources of those vast territories could deliver results which may be comparable or even greater than those of the development of the American West a hundred years back. The process will inevitably exert major influence on all civilization processes in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
To develop Asian Russia we need the absence of external threats. And by our view such guarantees could be best provided by developing positive relations with her neighbors. In that we have already achieved a lot. Our strategic partnership with China has been considerably enhanced. Russia’s relations with Japan in recent years have been characterized by an intensive political dialogue at different levels. To the DPRK Russia in linked with the Treaty of Friendship, Goodneighbourliness and Cooperation.
Russia and the Republic of Korea are presently jointly working to raise their relationship to the level of strategic cooperation and partnership. That partnership bears an independent value to my country in all aspects – be that political, economic or security considerations. In addition to cooperation on land and sea cooperation in space has now started. In April 2008 the first Korean cosmonaut Yi Soeyoung trained in the Russia Star City has made a successful space flight by a Russian spaceship and in coming months, the Russian-Korean boost rocket KSLV, capable of taking a payload up to 100 kg to the orbit, will be launched at the Korea National Space Center at the Oaenaru island in the South Cholla province, which also being built with Russia’s cooperation.
The Russian-Korean trade volume has been increasing steadily. In 2008 it approached the mark of USD 20 billion. This is surely much less than Korean trade with some other countries, but it is the growth tendency not the nominal figures themselves that counts. We believe that realisation of joint investment projects particularly in energy, as well in petrochemical and automobile industries will lead to a much bigger growth in bilateral trade. There are large scale investments by Korean companies in Russia in recent years.
All our perspective projects with the Republic of Korea and other neighbors are however endangered by the war threat in Northeast Asia. The main source of that threat is the more than half-century old military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula presently aggravated by the nuclear issue.
That issue is of a direct concern for Russia as the DPRK conducted its nuclear tess in an area which is located at a distance of less than 180 kilometers from our border. We do not like such a situation. We need neither nuclear nor missile tests at our border. Russia does not recognize the DPRK as a nuclear power and together with the partners in the “Six-Party” talks tried its best to convince Pyongyang to give up the military nuclear program.
The recent nuclear test by the DPRK cannot be viewed but as an open violation of the Resolution 1718 of the UN Security Council which inter alia demanded that Pyongyang should abstain from nuclear tests. I would like to remind that the above resolution was adopted in accordance with article 41, chapter VII of the UN Charter, and is compulsory for all UN member-states without exception. Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council does not intend and cannot in any form justify any actions detrimental to the authority of the UN Security Council.
But the North Korean nuclear test goes contrary not only to the UNSC resolutions but to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and Nuclear Test Ban Treaty as well. Russia is one of the founding fathers of those documents. We think they are extremely important in current international relations. So anything which would undermine the regimes of those two treaties is very serious and needs a strong response.
The DPRK’s recent actions provoke escalation of tension in Northeast Asia and threaten peace and security to the region. Pyongyang should bear accountability for that. However we think that it would be counter-productive to undertake steps leading to the de-facto complete international isolation of the DPRK. In no case the doors for dialogue with Pyongyang are to be shut. Otherwise the international community would risk to fully lose any leverage to influence North Koreans that could incite them to new adventures dangerous not only to regional security but to global WMD proliferation as well.
We understand that the DPRK might have certain concerns about its own security, when the factor of force was getting more and more manifested in the international relations and the language of ultimatums was widely used. But we do not view a real alternative to provide her security but along political and diplomatic tracks by forming relevant regional institutions with the participation of all interested parties. Therefore we appeal to our counterparts in the DPRK to show a responsible approach proceeding from the interests of maintenance of stability in the region and of the WMD non-proliferation regime as well as of respect to and implementation of the UN Security Council decisions. We continue to hold to our stand that the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula can be settled in the framework of the Six-Party process only.
With all our condemnation of the recent missile launches and nuclear tests in the DPRK, I would like to note that Pyongyang’s actions were not sudden ones. The North Koreans had notified about such a possibility a number of times well in advance. Those events is the result of the disruption of the Six-Party talks and it is not only the DPRK which could be blamed for that disruption.
Therefore if we really want to find a way out of the present crisis it is very important to cut off emotions. We are to thoroughly analyze all new nuances and move forward while combining firmness and determination with restraint and composure.
The recent actions of the DPRK should not be used by anyone as a pretext for a forceful enlargement of own military potential, first of all by forming nuclear arsenals, and strengthening military alliances creating confrontational division lines in Northeast Asia.
It is necessary to take all efforts to resume the Six-Party talks process and to continue the search for an universally acceptable settlement of the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula on the basis of the already achieved accords and taking into account justified interests and concerns of all parties. On the other hand all parties to the talks should fully implement all their obligations in regard to denuclearization as well as in regard to economic compensations. We should also continue our discussions on the draft guiding principles of peace and security in Northeast Asia in the frame work of the relevant working group headed by Russia.
Economic and energy security is a major component of global and regional security. Common work on long-term mutually beneficial joint economic projects in the best way to develop mutual trust and confidence. We experienced that in the Soviet times in late 1960-s and early 1970-s, when the first gas pipe-line was laid from the Soviet Union to Western Europe and the West European companies took part in construction of a number of industrial plants in the USSR like the Volga automobile plant by the FIAT company of Italy.
Those economic projects largely helped to promote detente in Europe which was manifested by the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1975. To take another example from the European developments one can also recall that the first step towards the European Union was made by creation of the European Coal and Steel Community.
I think that some experience of Europe could be used in Northeast Asia as well. On February 18th the first natural gas liquefaction plant was put into operation in the South Sakhalin in the Russian Far East. That plant will deliver to the Republic of Korea 1.5 Million tons liquefied natural gas annually for a period of 20 years. The first shipment took place in April. Big deliveries of liquefied gas from Sakhalin are to go also to Japan and as far as to the Pacific Coast of the United States. The first phase of the oil pipe-line from Eastern Siberia to the Pacific Coast of Russia is under completion. It will end at the new oil port and refinery in the region of Vladivostok. A gas pipe-line will be laid later parallel to the oil pipe-line directed to the Russian Pacific Coast and to China.
But Russia is not just an exporter of gas and oil. More then a third of the ROK needs in fuel for nuclear power houses are covered by Russian sources. Russia is an important supplier of such fuel for Japanese nuclear power plants too. New opportunities in that sphere have opened for my country recently in regard to the USA as well. Russia and China also actively cooperate in peaceful use of nuclear energy. Will you deny the opportunities opening here for enhancement mutual understanding through cooperation in energy?
The last year was full of important and sometimes dramatic events in the international affairs. The illusion of the one-polar world has been irrevocably left in the past. The strengthening of the regional level of global management is becoming a more influential trend of the modern world development. We can see that everywhere be it Euro-Atlantic Area or Europe proper, the post-Soviet space, the Asia-Pacific, Southeast Asia, Africa or Latin America. Not waiting for the international system disbalanced about twenty years back to regain its logics and completion, the states are taking upon themselves initiative and responsibility for developments in their regions.
Russia welcomes such a trend whole-heartedly, in relation to Northeast Asia as well. I would add: the issues of peace and security have become too fateful these days to remain the monopoly of governments. The broadest political, academic, business circles of all relevant countries should take part in decision-making. It is on such a ground only that a more democratic, a more just, and through that – a more secure international order could be established.
I am confident that the ideas and suggestions put forward at your conference will be taken up by the interested governments to serve as basic elements of future international agreements and will be put to life.
I with you all success in your work!