(12 November 2013) First, he writes letters to the citizens of other countries and now he sends messages via television networks. In a power position of global diplomacy, Russian President Vladimir Putin is working to expand the influence of the Russian Federation including yesterday’s trip to Vietnam and today in Seoul, South Korea.
As part of his visit with South Korean visit Mr. Putin was keen to move forward on a new “silk road” in establishing a major trading link by rail via the Trans-Siberian Railway. The project would link European Russia with new markets in Asia and open North Korea in the process.
This September Russia completed a significant step with a 54-kilometre (33-mile) stretch of track from Khasan (southeast Russia) to the North Korean port of Rajin. Rajin is a warm-water port near the borders of Russia, China and North Korea.
In preparation for the trip Mr. Putin taped an interview on Korean television network KBS on 7 November to be played the day before his arrival. Host Yusun Yeon asked President Putin about the possibility of South Korean business investors who seem intrigued with helping Russia develop the Far East and Siberia.
YUSUN YEON: In your opinion, what is the possibility for the development of these regions?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I have already said that we have prospects for cooperation in various fields. These are engineering, space, transport machinery and transport infrastructure. The Russian Federation sets an objective to ensure accelerated and priority development of Siberian regions, especially the Eastern Siberia and the Far East. We are neighbours exactly in this region of the world, almost neighbours with the Republic of Korea through the territory of North Korea, at sea we are practically very close.
We want to revive the shipbuilding cluster in the Far East, we have been negotiating this for a long time with our South Korean partners. Unfortunately, various reasons have still prevented us from establishing practical work even though it seemed to be about to start. We value the high expertise of our South Korean friends in the area of shipbuilding and I would like a lot to see these projects implemented, including those involving South Korean companies. We talked a lot and now are hatching plans for the development of transport systems in the Far East, namely, we plan to expand the Trans-Siberian Railway’s capacities, the Baikal-Amur Mainline, we even plan to allocate money from our reserves in the National Welfare Fund.
In this regard we should support the contacts that have been established between our Development Bank and the relevant financial institution of the Republic of Korea, between our Investment Fund and the respective Fund of the Republic of Korea. Of course, we could work very close and effectively with each other in this respect.
I have spoken about other areas, such as space exploration, and you know that now we are building a new launch site in the east of the country just for the purposes of the national economy, for civil purposes. It seems to me that the Republic of Korea could take part in this work as well. Cooperation in the fields of science, education and health care are beyond discussion. As you know, last year we hosted the APEC summit and gave all the facilities that we have prepared for this event to our Far Eastern Federal University, which I hope will become a very good place for training personnel not only for Russia, but also for the entire region.