Ladies and gentlemen
It’s my great honour to address today the participants of the Diplomatic Roundtable and to make a brief introduction of our view on the situation in the region and East Asian cooperation.
After the North Korean’s rocket launch the situation on the Korean peninsula changed from positive hopes to serious concerns. We call North Korean leaders not to oppose themselves to international community, refrain from actions worsening the situation in the region and creating additional difficulties for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
At the same time we expect maximum restraint from all countries of the region, asking not to play up to Pyongyang’s hawks, not to provoke armament race and full-scale military conflict.
It’s important to keep “window of possibilities” open for North Korea. Only calm and well-balanced steps could lead to real change. We stand for the quickest resumption of the dialogue between North and South, in our opinion it should not be any preconditions before that. Russia intends to contribute to maintenance of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in East Asia. We are trying to play a very active role in two fields.
First. Russia is a chair of a special working group within the framework of the Six-Party Talks – on the mechanism of peace and security in North East Asia. We prepared a draft of the document on the “guiding principles” providing guaranties of security to all countries, including North Korea, which is known to justify its nuclear program by the threat of aggression from the USA and ROK. We are sure that there will be necessary in future to make a multilateral document with not only political, but also with the juridical obligations based on the international law. Such a mechanism could become one of components of future security architecture in Asia Pacific Region.
Second. As you know, Russia suggested earlier 3 large trilateral projects of cooperation between Russia, North and South Korea, such as connection of Trans Korean and Trans Siberian Railways, program of creation united energy system in NEA as well as building gas pipeline from Russia through the peninsula. The realization of such projects may provide not only huge economic benefits for the countries concerned but also contribute positively to improvement of the situation in the region.
It is natural that East Asia and Asia Pacific are among the key priorities of Russia’s foreign policy. We are not newcomers in East Asia. Historically, Russia has been inseparably connected with many countries of the region. Now we are intensifying our efforts aimed at a deeper involvement in the processes of political and economic cooperation and integration in East Asia.
My country is a prominent member of regional multilateral and trans regional associations such as BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia Cooperation Dialogue as well as the RIC format involving Russia, India and China. Not so long ago we made our debut in the East Asian Summit and ASEM.
We accord priority to the development of economic cooperation focusing on the areas where we have distinct advantages, for example energy sector, transport, space exploration, prevention of natural disasters etc. Asia has every reason to view Russia as a critical element of military and political stability as well as of sustainable development. We may effectively contribute to solving the region’s energy, transport, scientific, technological and environmental problems and our partners are well aware of that.
This September our Far eastern “capital” – Vladivostok – will host Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Last November at the APEC summit in Honolulu our President Dmitry Medvedev stressed that we’d ensure continuity in achieving the objectives promoted by the US and other chair states, as well as fully implement our own priorities. For example, further liberalization of trade and investment and deepening of regional economic integration, cooperation for the innovation – driven growth, improving transport and logistics as well as ensuring food security.
We closely follow the establishment of a system of Free trade agreements in Asia Pacific, including the framework of Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia. Meanwhile, to sit back is not our principle. The negotiations on free trade agreement between Russia and New Zeland are entering their final phase. It’s important that the agreement will be sighed on behalf of the Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. A similar document is being negotiated with Vietnam. There are plans to build the same kind of partnership with ASEAN in the nearest future.
Russia has no hidden agenda in region. We look forward to intensifying multilateral economic and political cooperation with all the countries that show such a willingness. Cooperation for peace, stability and common prosperity is the key principal that determines the vector of our efforts in the Asia-Pacific dimension.
Thank you for your kind attention.