Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Korea Paek Nam-sun arrives in Moscow. As official spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yakovenko said in an interview he gave to RIA Novosti, the visit of the North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs to Russia is a reply visit to Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov's visit to Pyongyang in February 2000. The last time the head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry visited Moscow in 1988. Alexander Yakovenko pointed out that the present visit "will be a continuation of the latest series of active bilateral meetings and contacts at a high and highest levels which have testified to a new stage in relations with this very important for us country - a stage of friendly good-neighbourly relations and constructive cooperation." At the present time, said Yakovenko, "the Russian side is taking measures to fill the relations with the DPRK with a new content in the spirit of the political agreements which were achieved during the recent exchange of visits at the highest level and the declarations signed in Pyongyang and Moscow, as well as in accordance with the Treaty of Friendship, Good-Neighbourliness and Cooperation which was concluded in February 2000." By actively developing good-neighbourly relations both with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea, Russia strives in every way to contribute to positive processes on the Korean Peninsula. The official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow "is very much interested in carrying out the plans of multilateral economic cooperation, above all the project of uniting the railways of North and South Korea and their joining the Trans-Siberian Railway with the aim of creating a transport corridor - the Korean Peninsula-Europe. According to Yakovenko, this project is not only of an economic, but also political importance. He underscored that "coordination of the efforts with Seoul and Pyongyang in this sphere has become one of the priority tasks of Russian diplomacy. Apart from that, pointed out Alexander Yakovenko, there have appeared of late common points with the DPRK on a number of international problems. They include the concern about the plans of the THAAD (Theatre High Altitude Area Defence) in Asia and the National Missile Defence in the United States, as well as the fight against international terrorism and the problems of non-proliferation and the non-use of force in international relations. The two sides are also discussing such international regional problems as the situation in troubled spots, regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and others.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969