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(EDITORIAL from The Korea Herald on Sept.5)

All News 07:08 September 05, 2016

MOUs with Russia
Time to implement Far East development scheme

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that South Korea is one of Russia’s outstanding partners in the Asia-Pacific region. He acknowledged the direction of comprehensive economic cooperation between the two countries right after his summit with President Park Geun-hye on Saturday.

The statement on future economic partnership comes after Seoul and Moscow reiterated their concerted efforts against North Korea’s nuclear development program.

Though the two leaders have not clarified whether the two countries narrowed their political differences on Korea and the US’ plan to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system on the peninsula, Putin expressed his will to push for a co-development project with Korean businesses.

They agreed to expand the scope of their economic cooperation, which has focused mostly on manufacturing and energy, into other segments such as agriculture, fisheries, health care, medical services and environment.

In a bid to back the expansion of economic cooperation, the two countries signed two dozen memorandums of understanding.

The memorandums included one between a South Korean hospital and Russia’s railway service in the country’s Far East. Under the consensus, a hospital from Korea’s port city of Busan could attract some 55,000 Russian railway workers and their family members as potential customers.

The 24 provisional pacts also involve bilateral cooperation in space activities, research on the Arctic Ocean and maritime science.

The two sides also agreed to seek South Korean firms' participation in a set of projects to develop Russia’s Far East market, which are estimated at $395 million. The projects include constructing a cold storage facility in Vladivostok, a hospital in Kamchatka and a waste disposal system in Khabarovsk.

It is time for Korean businesses to make the best of Russia's strategy to expand its geopolitical presence in East Asia. The eastern region of Russia has been at the core of the country’s balanced regional development project.


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