The Russian foreign minister stated today at the final press conference that he was fully satisfied with the results of his recent negotiations with South Korean leadership in Seoul.
The Russian minister indicated that in the course of the negotiations major attention was devoted to aspects of inter-Korean settlement and matters of bilateral trade and economic cooperation.
Igor Ivanov stated that in 2001 the trade turnover with South Korea amounted to USD 2.8 billion. Nevertheless, the Russian foreign minister pointed out, it does not correspond to potential capabilities of the two countries. He also indicated that development of projects related to possible supply of gas from the Irkutsk deposit (southern part of Eastern Siberia) and Sakhalin (the Russian island in the Okhotsk sea) was going slower than they wished them to go.
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry also stated that during the meeting with representatives of South Korean big business an interest was expressed towards implementation of a whole range of projects and towards getting access to the Russian market. In particular, the Russian foreign minister stated that the project of the large Korean company "Lotte" might serve as an example of that. The company expressed its readiness to build a hotel and a business center in Moscow. At the same time the minister stressed that it would be the largest South Korean investment project in Russia. According to Ivanov, another important project might become connection of railroads on the Korean peninsula with their subsequent access to the Russian Trans-Siberian railroad.
The Russian minister emphasized that South Korea expressed its interest in implementation of the project. At the same time the minister pointed out that participation of Russia, the Republic of Korea and the Korean People's Democratic republic might play a positive role in the settlement of the situation on the Korean peninsula.
While talking about the results of the negotiations with the South Korean leadership regarding the situation in Korea the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the parties were unanimous that the peace settlement of the problem had no alternatives.
Regarding the problem of repayment by Russia of external indebtedness of the former USSR to South Korea, Igor Ivanov stated that at present finance ministries of the two countries were still engaged in negotiations on that matter. The minister confirmed that Moscow "was interested in repaying part of the indebtedness in Russian commodities, including products of military and technical character."
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