Address by H.E. Mr.Gleb

A.Ivashentsov Ambassador
of the Russian Federation

at the Korea Institute

of Defense Analysis 

(December 20, 2006)

 

         Dear friends,

         I would like to thank the KIDA for the invitation to brief you on Russian-Korean relations in the context of North-East Asia security problems issues management.

         This is not our first meeting and I hope it will be mutually useful. I count on frank and substantial exchange of opinions.

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First I would like to say a few words about the present situation in Russia. Today’s Russia is confident about its future. We have overcome in general the difficulties of the 1990-s “transition period”. For the last three years our country has been at one of the leading positions in the world in terms of annual economic growth. The growing demand for Russian products at the international market made it possible to form large currency reserves, which in its turn will let us make Russian rouble a convertible currency in the nearest future.

President V.V.Putin of Russia has set the task to take serious steps for promotion of investment in industrial infrastructure and innovation while preserving the financial stability.

Russia intends to fully apply its potential in such spheres as modern energy production, including nuclear energy using safe new generation reactors, communications, space exploration, aircraft production and to secure a considerable share of world intellectual property market. A breakthrough in those tracks, where Russia has been traditionally strong, can give us a chance to use them as a locomotive for overall economic development.

 

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         In striving for reaching new frontiers in our country growth we attach the great importance to the economic development of the East Siberia and the Far East. We believe that potentially the exploration of the Russian Asia’s vast territories and utilization of its natural and other resources in Russian economy well bring results which may be comparable or even greater than those of the development of the West in the US. The process will inevitably exert major influence on all civilizational processes not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but in the world as a whole.    

The task of the Siberian and Far Eastern resources development can be solved primarily by ourselves. Of course it will be easier to do this with investments from the interested countries of the region. Any how for all the complexity of the tasks in developing the Asian part of the country we will neither give up our sovereignty nor share it with others. This is the key condition of our cooperation with partners in development of our resources on the basis of the Russian law.

In no other region are our internal and external interests so interconnected as in the North-East Asia. For it is necessary to guarantee external security for the economic development of Siberia and the Far East. And the national security of Russia can be guaranteed only by forming military, political and strategic relations with our neighbors in the region based on the “security through partnership and mutual development” principle.

The main threat to the peace and security in the North-East Asia caused by the more than 50-year old military stand off on the Korean Peninsula now has been aggravated by the unsettled nuclear problem.

The developments on the Korean Peninsula are to much extent to influence the future of not only Northeast Asia and Asian Pacific Area as a whole but the world processes as well.

I think that you all well know the reaction of Russia to the DPRK’s nuclear test on October 9th. Russia denounced the test not just because it was conducted in the close proximity to out border at a distance of just 177 kilometers. The main reason is that it caused a great damage to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

We are to make our mind over what is to be done to defuse the crisis. As all the interested Parties admit, the accords reached at the Fourth round of the Six–party talks offered a settlement of the main issues which used to be stumbling blocks viz of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula on one side and of serving the legitimate needs of the DPRK in the security and humanitarian spheres, on the other.

By other words, the Joint Statement of September, 19th, 2005 provided a constructive basis for advancing to not only verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula but to the future general normalization of the situation in the region as well, to achievement of political and economic decisions which could turn the Northeast Asia into a region of peace, security and cooperation.

What do we mean?

The commitment by the DPRK to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards. The affirmation by the United States that it has no nuclear weapons on the  Korean Peninsula and has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons. The undertaking by the DPRK and the United States to respect each other’s sovereignty, exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize their relations subject to their respective bilateral policies. The commitment of the Six Parties to joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia. The respect of the Parties to the Right of the DPRK to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and their agreement to discuss, at an appropriate time, the subject of the provision of light water reactor to the DPRK. The agreement by the Six Parties to take coordinated steps to implement the afore-mentioned consensus in a phased manner in line with the principle of “commitment for commitment, action for action”.

All these accords, however, got suspended. Why did it happen? One of the reasons is obviously that not all of the Parties to the Talks were prepared to implement the accords achieved.

As Mr. Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, said, “the problem is that we should change the way of settling such issues in the world in general. We should move from the language of ultimatums and sanctions to the situation when the international affairs are ruled by the international law when each country, be it a big or a small, a strong or a weak one, could feel itself protected by the norms mandatory to all. Then we would be able to toughen our demands to these countries. But as long as they feel themselves infringed and insecure they behave in that way. It does not mean, however, that we should not react to that”.

Russia does not recognize North Korea as a nuclear power as this would have given an utterly undesirable example to other countries. In general the issue of access to nuclear technologies is becoming quite topical. A situation is emerging in the world when many countries with their number increasing have started elaborating on the means to protect their security when the factor of force in the international relations has been growingly manifesting itself. Moreover it is happening along with a very serious ideologization of the international relations which bears a threat of a conflict between civilizations that must not be permitted.

Russia will do its best to stop such dangerous trends. But, I repeat, first of all the small states will abandon their strive for access to the sophisticated weapons to protect their security only in case a reliable system of international guarantees of this security is available. And, secondly, all states should be provided an equal non-discriminated access to the newest technologies, including nuclear ones.
For peaceful use, of course. Undoubtedly we all should toughen the non-proliferation regime. But it would be fair only when we provide the observance of the two afore-mentioned terms.

In case of North Korea all the work which was done and is still being done on settlement of the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula is carried on in the context of providing security guarantees to North Korea as well as surely to the Republic of Korea, Japan and other countries of the region. Such guarantees should be solid and convincing ones so that Pyongyang has no suspicions in regard to security. On December 18 the Six-Party talks on the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula reopened in Beijing. All participants are interested in reaching some substantial results at the talks.

It is important to avoid any action which could lead to aggravation of tension around Korea and the situation coming out of control. In this sense it is necessary to continue the efforts including offers of positive incentives to urge Pyongyang to take up a more reasonable behaviour and to facilitate not only the resumption of the Six-Parties Talks but also the implementation of the already achieved accords on securing the nuclear-free status of the Korean Peninsula and the DPRK returning to the NPT etc.

Russia appeals to all states concerned to display restraint and reason in implementation of the UNSC Resolution 1718 and objects to the unfoundedly broadened interpretation of the sanctions bearing in mind the motto of medicos  nole necereviz “do not cause harm”. Sanctions are a forced measure of precaution, not a punishment for Pyongyang.

Russia intends to continuously work for success of the Six-Party Talks. The denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is viewed by us as a starting point on the path of turning it in to a zone of peace, security and cooperation. We constantly stand on favour of building bridges between Seoul and Pyongyang and are prepared to contribute to the multilateral infrastructural and other economic projects on the Korean Peninsula. We think that the participation of the DPRK in such projects as construction of an international railway corridor between Europe and Korea as well as its joining programs of creating in Northeast Asia an integrated electric power grid and pipelines’ net would serve further development of mutually beneficial and good-neighbourly relations between two Korean States and help strengthening peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia as a whole.

***

Constructive relations with the Republic of Korea are one of priorities of Russia’s policy in Asia. We attach independent value to such partnership.

In the last decades both Russia and the Republic of Korea have undergone a transformation from authoritarian systems of governance to democracy. Respect for democracy in domestic policy is a foundation for our adherence to democratic principles in international affairs as well. Similarity of the two countries’ approaches to major international issues, such as formation of the new, multi-polar world order with the key role for the UN, non-acceptance of diktat in inter-state relations, combat to international terrorism and securing non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, is a substantial basis for our interaction.

We in Russia welcome the election of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon as the UN 8th Secretary General. We see it as the convincing proof of high evaluation by the international community of the constructive role the Republic of Korea plays in international affairs.

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The Russian-South Korean relations today are steadily rising to the level of comprehensive and trustful partnership. Our presidents meet regularly, as well as foreign ministers and parliament members, political parties and non-government organizations are also in contact. 

There is not a single sphere of human activities not covered in the two countries relations. In addition to cooperation on land and sea cooperation in space is now developing. It has been provided for Russia’s help in training the first Korean cosmonaut for a flight into space on a Russian spaceship in 2008. 

 

Russian-Korean trade volume has been increasing steadily. We expect it to near the mark of USD 10 billion this year. Of course, this is much less than Korean trade with some other countries, but it is the growth rate not the numbers themselves that counts. The trade volume between our countries has grown 5 times since 2000.   We believe that realization of joint investment projects will lead to a multiple increase of bilateral trade.

It is also unreasonable to see Russia only as a supplier of raw materials to Korean market. For example about forty percent of civilian helicopters now being used in the Republic of Korea were produced in Russia. Quite a few commercial agreements on joint science-research and experimental projects, aimed at production of high-tech products in the Republic of Korea under Russian licenses are being developed.

         The main goals in such spheres as trade, investment, science and technology and other fields of cooperation have been stated in Russian-Korean Joint Action Plan signed during the last visit of President V.V.Putin to the Republic of Korea. Such plan will make it possible to monitor implementation of bilateral agreements and joint projects more carefully.

Especially important is our dialogue in the field of energy, as it is aimed at fixing spheres of mutual work and enhancing energy cooperation on a regional level in North-East Asia. We are talking about a very broad interaction in petroleum, gas and coal sectors as well as in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

During the recent visit of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, Mr. M.Fradkov to Seoul several documents aimed at the broadening of the legal basis for bilateral interaction were signed, including the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in gas industry.

Russia is planning to supply annually up to 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas to the Republic of Korea starting from 2012-2013. A conclusion of long-term contract is planned providing for supplies of Russian gas to South Korea for over than 30 years. An increase in Russian gas supplies volume may also be provided in the contract.

There is more to that, an agreement has been signed between the Kogas and the Sakhalin Energy company developing natural gas fields at the Sakhalin island granting annual supplies of 1.5 million tons of liquidefied gas to the Republic of Korea for a 20-year term starting from 2008.

The Russian-South Korean consortium with participation of the Rosneft aimed at exploration and development of petroleum and natural gas resources on Kamchatka Peninsula continental shelf has started its work. The project is under consideration for development of bituminous coal in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) worth about USD 2 billion and providing, among other things, for annual export of up 2 million tons of   coking coal and up to 6 million tons of energy coal.

As for the cooperation in nuclear industry signed between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Korea on May 22, 1999, provides for Russia supplying to the Republic of Korea low-enriched uranium, uranium enrichment, designing and construction of low- and medium-power reactors for off-shore nuclear power plants and sea water conversion machines. Even now 37% of South Korea’s nuclear fuel demand is provided for by supplies from Russia.

During Mr. M.Fradkov’s visit to Seoul the parties reaffirmed their will to constant development and implementation of bilateral and multilateral cooperation projects in such fields as space exploration, transport, automobile production and petrochemical industry, peaceful use of nuclear energy, small and medium enterprise. The will for continuation of bilateral cooperation in the military and technology sphere was also reaffirmed.

***

As President V.V.Putin of Russia has pointed out “trustworthy and benevolent relations between Russia and the Republic of Korea are of course based on similarities in our vision of the modern world. But what is the most important, it is Russians and Koreans working together on a vast amount of initiatives”.

Russian-Korean partnership corresponds to vital interests of our two peoples as well to strengthening peace and security in North-East Asia and Asia-Pacific as a whole.