Source Pravda.Ru

Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Il to discuss in Vladivostok situation on Korean Peninsula and "ally positions" on uniting North and South Koreas' railways

Vladimir Putin will meet PDRK leader Kim Jong Il on August 23rd in Vladivostok. RIA Novosti received this information at the press service of the Russian president.

On Thursday the Russian leader will fly on a working trip to the regions of the Russian Far East and Siberia.

Kim Jong Il has been visiting the cities of the Russian Far East from August 20th through 24th on an invitation of the Russian leadership.

RIA Novosti has learned from the sources in the Kremlin that the visit of the North Korean leader was organised in connection with his desire "to become better acquainted with the Russian territories bordering on the PDRK. He expressed this desire after his official visit to Russia in August, 2001.

According to the sources, the new contacts between the Russian leadership and the PDRK leader "will allow to deepen mutual understanding, discuss problems of bilateral relations and international issues, including the situation on the Korean peninsula".

Of late, Russia has made more active its peacekeeping and diplomatic efforts on the Korean peninsula, stressed RIA Novosti's collocutors. According to them, Moscow helped the North and the South to overcome the consequences of the armed clash in the Yellow Sea last June and to resume dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington and between Pyongyang and Tokyo.

Under these conditions, the Kremlin noted, the maintaining of the political dialogue between the Russian leaders and the high leadership of the PDRK will improve the situation around the Korean peninsula and make the dialogue between the North and the South successful.

Major international economic projects, the implementation of which Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Il will discuss in Vladivostok, include the uniting of the North and South Koreas' railways with the exit to the TransSiberian railway, reported the sources. According to them, "the point at issue is the project on the delivery of cargoes by rail from South Korea, through the territory of North Korea and Russia, to Europe." Since the implementation of this project will positively influence the development of the Russian Far Eastern regions, this issue "is always on the agenda of all contacts with the PDRK leadership, the Kremlin pointed out.

In addition, Russia and the PDRK are going to ally their positions concerning this project shortly before the economic negotiations between the North and the South to begin late in August. And this is very important. According RIA Novosti's collocutors, the issue of railways will be in the focus of these negotiations.

The Kremlin does not rule out either that during the meeting the leaders of Russia and the PDRK will touch upon questions of collaboration in the promising spheres of cooperation - woodworking, power engineering, oil processing, mining industry and sea business.

The sources also pointed out that at present almost 70 percent of the Russian-North Korean trade turnover falls on ties with the regions. Due to contacts of their representatives with the North Korean side a number of promising projects have been mapped out lately.

During his Far Eastern visit the North Korean leader is planning to study additional opportunities for the development of the Russian-North Korean cooperation at the level of the regions, the sources stressed.

On the whole, according to the Kremlin, this trip and the meeting between the leaders of Russia and the PDRK will "give a strong political impulse to the realisation of the mapped out tasks."