(12 November 2013)
Seoul Report, Part One:
It was the third annual meeting of the Korea-Russian Dialogue and both President Putin and South Korean President Park Geun-hye proclaimed that each meeting so far has been a success and assisted in building of ties between the two countries.
After a day of meeting with government officials and Korean business leaders, Mr. Putin said that he considered it important that official contacts between Russia and the Republic of Korea continues to be supported by the business community in South Korea.
Mr. Putin also announced the agreement of visa-free travel between the two nations. The agreement signed at today’s summit on simplifying visa rules – essentially introducing visa-free travel for short-term visits of up to 60 days – and the agreement on establishment and operation of cultural centres will likewise help to intensify our cooperation.
At the end of the day Mr. Putin concluded the trip to the Republic of Korea by visiting the city of Incheon, where he laid flowers at the monument to the fallen sailors of the cruiser Varyag and the gunboat Koreyets.
In one of the first battles of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905, the Varyag cruiser faced an unequal fight with a Japanese squadron of 14 warships in the Korean port of Jemulpo (now Incheon).
The Varyag was badly damaged, and its commander Vsevolod Rudnev gave order to sink the cruiser to prevent it from being captured by the enemy. In 1905, the Japanese lifted the cruiser from the seabed. Later the Varyag relics were displayed in a museum in Korea.
Three years ago Incheon city authorities delivered the Varyag’s flag to Russia where it is now displayed at the Naval Museum in St Petersburg.