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N.K.'s participation in regional energy cooperation would ease tensions: minister

All Headlines 10:44 March 30, 2018

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top diplomat on Friday expressed hopes of bringing the long-stalled pipeline natural gas (PNG) project involving the two Koreas and Russia back on track, saying the North's participation in Northeast Asia's energy cooperation could serve as a "catalyst" in efforts to secure peace in the region.

"Should the security situation on the Korean Peninsula improve, we will be able to review the PNG business involving the two Koreas and Russia," Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said in a speech at a Seoul forum on regional energy cooperation.

The PNG business is aimed at transporting natural gas from Russia to the Korean Peninsula.

"Furthermore, if the North participates in talks on Northeast Asia energy cooperation, it would serve as a catalyst that helps ease geopolitical tensions in the region," she added.

Kang said Northeast Asia is home to South Korea, Japan, Russia and China, countries that account for a third of global energy consumption, but noted that their cooperative efforts to secure stable supply through regional trade have been hampered due to various reasons, including tensions caused by North Korea.

Kang still emphasized that ongoing technological advances and the growing sense of rapprochement between the two Koreas leads to a building of consensus among regional partners for energy-related cooperation and prompts governments, academia and private sectors to intensify relevant research.

She underlined the importance of more regional cooperation in the natural gas field in particular, saying that demand for the energy source deemed relatively environmentally friendly is expected to rise in the years to come.

N.K.'s participation in regional energy cooperation would ease tensions: minister - 1

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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