Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s interview to the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS and South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo
QUESTION: Russia and the Republic of Korea are celebrating the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations. How do you assess the current state of relations between our two countries?
ANSWER: The 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations is an important milestone, which allows one to summarize the main results achieved on the path our countries have walked together, and to identify benchmarks for the future.
I note with satisfaction that we have accomplished a tremendous amount of work for the development of bilateral relations. Having starting virtually from the zero mark, we have exerted joint efforts to build a solid framework of fruitful interaction meeting the national interests of both countries.
Over the recent years we made a long stride from multi-faceted cooperation and trust to strategic partnership, which reflects a high degree of maturity of our relationship. The agenda of the Russian-Korean dialogue at all levels, including the top one, has taken a rather clear shape. It contains a long list of topics in foreign policy, trade, economy, humanitarian and other spheres. This is largely owed to the fact that between our countries there exist no intractable political problems or artificial constraints that would inhibit the development of relations.
Naturally, at each stage of building up co-operation there arise certain difficulties. However, today we have mechanisms that allow us not only to raise specific issues, but also to address them. It is important the leaders of Russia and the Republic of Korea meet regularly and exchange messages, which, of course, stimulates the strengthening of mutual trust, and promotes the expansion of horizons for cooperatio……