North Korean foreign minister expected to begin Russia visit

MOSCOW. Sept 30 (Interfax) – North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong is expected to arrive in Russia on Tuesday for a visit, which will last for several days.

Speaking to Interfax, a source in the North Korean Embassy in Moscow reaffirmed Pyongyang’s commitment to achieving real progress in promoting relations between North Korea and Russia in general, including bilateral business ties.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has said that the North Korean minister’s visit to Russia will continue from September 30 to October 10 and is expected to include a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on October 1.

“The ministers will examine essential issues of bilateral cooperation, including acceleration of political dialogue and trade and economic collaboration. Opinions will be exchanged on the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia as a whole. Key items on the negotiations agenda will include foreign political interaction between Russia and the DPRK, which is a rather weighty factor in the peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” Lukashevich said in an interview published on the ministry website.

The absence of a solution to the nuclear problem of the Korean peninsula (NPKP) hampers cooperation between Russia and North Korea, he said.

“The NPKP and prospects for resumption of the six-party talks is an acute issue requiring frank conversation. Failure to resolve the nuclear problem is a serious factor hampering Russian-North Korean cooperation,” Lukashevich said.

“There will be an exchange of opinions on pressing international problems, including the situation in Ukraine and the Middle East, the situation around the Iranian nuclear program and efforts to form a new architecture of security in the Asia Pacific region,” Lukashevich noted.

Lavrov and Ri Su Yong will sum up the results of the joint efforts towards upgrading the contractual and legal basis of bilateral relations. There is the task of completing work on a number of joint documents in various spheres soonest, from culture and humanitarian affairs to technology and finance. Practical aspects of bilateral relations, including those in the economic sphere, will be analyzed,” he said.

A way to reach $1 billion trade turnover in the foreseeable future will be considered, Lukashevich said.

The sides will speak about operation of the intermodal transshipment hub in the Rajin port and new programs implemented by the formula “Russian equipment and investment for Korean mineral resources”,” he said.

During his visit, the North Korean foreign minister will meet with Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev, Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fedorov and Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka, Lukashevich added.

At the end of his stay in Moscow, Ri Su Yong will visit the Amur and Sakhalin regions and the Khabarovsk and Primorsky territories to meet with the heads of regional authorities and legislative assemblies. These contacts will touch upon the joint search for effective forms of practical cooperation, including the current and prospective economic and humanitarian projects,” Lukashevich said.

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