'South Korea is keen for Russia to play an active role in resolving the Korean dispute,' said Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Monday at a press conference devoted to his visit to South Korea. On Friday the information department of the Russian Foreign Ministry informed Rosbalt's correspondent that, according to Ivanov, Russia is regarded with a great deal of trust by Korean politicians, both in the government and the opposition. 'This creates an excellent opportunity for our country to play such a role in establishing a dialogue between the North and the South,' said the minister.
He also announced that a great deal of attention during the talks was devoted to trade and economic cooperation. 'We regard Korea as one of our most important economic partners in the region,' said Ivanov. He added that in 2001 trade between Russia and Korea reached USD 2.8 billion and that 'this is a long way from being its limit, considering the potential of our two countries'.
Plans for creating North-South rail links with a connection to the Trans-Siberian railway were also discussed in the talks. 'Bringing this three-way project to fruition would, of course, help improve Korean relations in general,' said the Foreign Minister.