Address by

H.E. Mr. Gleb A. Ivashentsov

Ambassador of the Russian Federation

at NEAN 2007

Diplomatic Round Table

Yonsei Leadership Center

(February 6th, 2007)

 

Dear Friends,

I would like to thank Yonsei University Leadership Center for the invitation to address the todays round table.

The subject is the situation in the Northeast Asia. It is a very topical theme for my country. Russia is an integral part of the Northeast Asia. It has been so, it is so and it will be so. Judge for yourselves. Two thirds of the Russian land mass with the population of 30 million are located in that region.

The internal strengthening of Russia and the present accumulation of huge financial reserves make it possible for us to take up the task of integrated development of the Eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East which has been in the agenda for years. It means a more efficient integration of that vast territory into the economy of Russia as well as into the world markets and its exploration and development aimed at creation of a favorable business environment and attractive conditions for human life and work. It is a task of a great scale but the outcome of its implementation will be ever greater. We believe that potentially the uplift of Siberia and the Far East with their natural and other resources will bring results comparable if not even greater than those of the development of the West in the United States. The process will inevitably exert major influence on all civilizational processes in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

***

The task of the Siberian and Far Eastern resources development should be solved primarily by ourselves. Of course it will be easier to do this with investments from the interested countries of the region. Anyhow 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 developing our resources on the basis of the Russian law.

In no other region are our internal and external interests so interconnected as in the Northeast Asia. For the economic development of Siberia and the Far East needs external security. Russia looks for guarantees of its national security not through forming up certain new holy alliances based on ideological solidarity or putting forward ultimatums which could push all into an impasse but only by promoting such defense, political and strategic relations with neighbors in the region which are based on security through partnership and mutual development.

We have achieved a lot in that sphere. The successful Year of Russia in China in 2006 has set a new stage in enhancement of our strategic partnership with China. Within present 2007 which is the Year of China in Russia, at least four summit meetings of the leaders of the two states will take place.

Our relations with the Republic of Korea are reaching the level of trustful comprehensive partnership when two countries interact practically in all fields of human activities. With the DPRK Russia has the Treaty of Friendship, Goodneighborliness and Cooperation. Russias dialogue with Japan is continuously progressing. When President V.V.Putin of Russia met with the new Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. S. Abe, on the sidelines of the APEC Summit at Hanoi in November 2006, a very significant accord was achieved to bring our bilateral political relationship to a much higher level.

***

The main threat to peace and security in the Northeast Asia today is caused by the more than 50-year old military stand off on the Korean Peninsula which has been presently aggravated by the unsettled nuclear issue.

This issue is of a direct concern for Russia. The site of the nuclear test by the DPRK on October 9th, 2006 is situated at the distance of just 177 Kms to our border. We do not like it. We do not need in the proximity of our borders neither nuclear and missile tests nor saber-rattling by anyone.

As announced, the Six-Parties Talks on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula will restart in Beijing on February 8th. We in Russia sincerely welcome it. My country has been continuously working for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the DPRK coming back to the NPT. We want the settlement of this issue to become a kind of a starting point in the process of turning the Northeast Asia into a region of peace, security and cooperation.

***

The immediate task is to find a way out of the present crisis. For that one needs to determine the causes of the crisis. And one of the causes lies in a fact that in the present conditions when the factor of force in the international relations has been growingly manifesting itself and the language of ultimatums and sanctions has been increasingly used, some countries feel themselves infringed and attempt to protect their security by any means, extreme measures included.

It doesnt mean, however, that the international community should not react to such behaviour. Russia doesnt recognize the DPRK as a nuclear power as this would have given an utterly undesirable example to other countries. At the same time we think that all the work on settlement of the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula is to be carried on in the context of providing security guarantees to the DPRK as well as 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. It is very important to avoid any action which could lead to aggravation of tension around Korea and the situation coming out of control.

***

All the interested Parties admit that the accords reached at the Fourth round of the Six-party talks more then a year back offered a way to the settlement of the main issues 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 Unites States to respect each others 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 the 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 at that time the accords achieved. It is the high time now to correct the situation. It is encouraging that all interested Parties have agreed to that. The heat of the emotions has come down. The reserved, constructive and flexible approaches have prevailed. It is important that Pyongyang has accepted the signal of the International community sent to it through UNSC Resolution 1718.

***

Earlier than many, Russia was able to comprehend the lessons at the Cold War and give up ideology in favour of common sense. Hence the ability to take an unbiased look at the contemporary international realities which demand the rule in the world politics of 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 over demands to those who violate those norms.

Russia intends to continuously work to the success of the Six-Parties Talks. We understand that the issue of security in the Northeast Asia is complicated and multifaceted and that its settlement will need long-term and laborious negotiations. But, as the Chinese say, the longest march of Ten Thousand leagues starts with the first step. The talks in Beijing are to become that first step.

In addition to the settlement of the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula, Russia is prepared to contribute to the Inter-Korean normalization as well. My country constantly supports building bridges between Seoul and Pyongyang and stands in favour of undertaking of multilateral infrastructural and other economic projects on the Korean Peninsula. We think that the participation of the DPRK in the international railway corridor between Europe and Korea as well as its joining programs of creating in the 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.

***

The developments on the Korean Peninsula are to much extent to influence the future of not only the Northeast Asia and the Asian Pacific Area as a whole but the world processes as well. I will single out just two main aspects. On one hand, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would create a principally important precedent for settling similar issues in other parts of the world and would thereby become a weighty contribution to strengthening the non-proliferation regime. On the other hand, the Six-Parties Talks represent a pattern for a collective decision-making on a hottest international issue, a pattern which is extremely important in the present international situation. It is on such a basis only, not by one-sided forcible actions and attempts to monopolize the processes of conflict defusing that there is a chance to stabilize the present disbalanced system of international relations and to promote its deideologization and demilitarization.

The settlement on the Korean Peninsula should become an important input to creation of an unified system of collective security in the Asian Pacific Area with respect to the specifics of its sub-systems and to the experience of the established regional multilateral international and informal structures of authority such as the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation, the Asian Regional Forum, the Asian Pacific Economic Community, the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia etc. Russia actively participates in the work of those forums.

The preparedness to learn from the others experience, the recognition of the reality that one-sided forcible actions are counterproductive and therefore have no future as well as a continuous and well-balanced integration this is the only basis which could provide security, stable development and finally the much desired prosperity for all.