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Park stresses trust in S. Korea-Russia relations amid THAAD tensions

All News 17:34 September 03, 2016

By Song Sang-ho

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept. 3 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Saturday pointed to trust as the "most crucial" element in the development of relations with Russia, amid tensions with Moscow over the planned deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system to South Korea.

"The South Korea-Russia relationship has, thus far, undergone various changes, but the importance of the relationship for each other remains unchanged," Park said during a summit with her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Russia's Far East port city of Vladivostok.

"I believe for the relationship to be well-managed and developed, trust is the most crucial thing, and to accumulate trust, I believe, close communication between us is of great importance," she added.

Her remarks came as Moscow remains opposed to the plan by Seoul and Washington to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, a core element of America's global missile defense program, to the Korean Peninsula by end-2017.

Moscow, along with Beijing, has expressed concerns that the deployment would escalate regional military tensions and undermine its strategic security interests. But Seoul has defended the plan as an inevitable, self-defense measure to counter Pyongyang's growing nuclear and missile threats.

During the summit, Putin highlighted the importance of bilateral economic cooperation, saying South Korea is one of Russia's "outstanding" partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We have been pursuing comprehensive economic cooperation. We are cooperating in energy, agriculture and the manufacturing sector (among others)," Putin said. "We are delighted to have this direct contact between the leaders of the two countries."

The summit, the fourth between them, was held on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, a venue to discuss regional cooperation in developing Russia's resource-rich Far East. Park arrived in Vladivostok on Friday.

President Park Geun-hye (L) talks with her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during their summit on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia's Far East port city of Vladivostok on Sept. 3, 2016. (Yonhap)


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