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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Medvedev Asks South Korea Companies to Cooperate With Russia on Technology

By Lyubov Pronina and Bomi Lim - Nov 10, 2010 9:08 AM GMT+0000

President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia is looking to South Korean companies to help modernize his country’s industries and develop commercial applications in key technologies.
Korean investors “not only bring money and jobs, but also what is most important, modern technologies,” he said during a visit to Seoul for a meeting with South Korean counterpart Lee Myung Bak before tomorrow’s Group of 20 summit. “We are ready not only to trade. Korean companies have a lot of experience in applied technologies and in their commercialization.”
Areas for cooperation include energy efficiency, medicine, space technology and computer sciences, he said. Medvedev’s visit comes on the heels of recent trips to China and Vietnam as Russia moves to increase its presence in Asia to benefit from the region’s growth, diversify its export markets and attract investment.
Two-way trade between Russia and South Korea in the first ninth months of this year totaled $12.4 billion, 20 percent higher than the whole of 2009, according to data from the Korea International Trade Association. Russia bought $5 billion worth of South Korean goods between January and September in 2010, making it the 13th largest destination.
Moscow-based OAO Gazprom and Korea Gas Corp. signed a “road map” to export Russian gas to South Korea. The two countries agreed to start talks on the subject, Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller told reporters today.
Miller met with representatives from Korea Gas Corp. to discuss holding talks next month on deliveries of natural gas starting in 2017, he said. South Korea may import as much as 10 billion cubic meters a year, Miller said at the G-20 Business Summit in Seoul today.
Gas Pipes
The gas may be delivered in liquefied or compressed form, or though a land pipeline, Miller said. South Korea imports 1.5 million tons of LNG a year from Russia.
Europe remains the primary market for Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural-gas producer. Gas delivered to Asia may reach the same level as Europe within a “quite short” period of time, Miller said. The European Union currently accounts for half of Russia’s foreign trade.
Gazprom warned the EU last month that its move away from long-term contracts may lead to a drop in supply for European customers and an increase in exports to Asia. Sakhalin Energy, a Gazprom-led venture, began shipping liquefied natural gas to Japan and South Korea last year and aims to sign a contract next year to supply China National Petroleum Corp. with 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually for 30 years.
Medevdev and Lee also agreed to cooperate on “creating the conditions” for resuming the stalled negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Dialogue Needed
Medvedev also said South Korea needs to engage in dialogue with North Korea to ensure regional stability at today’s meeting with Lee in Seoul, Lee’s office said in a statement.
Movements of personnel and vehicles near a nuclear test site in North Korea have sparked speculation the totalitarian nation may be preparing for a nuclear test. Six-party multinational talks including Russia and South Korea on the North’s atomic weapons program haven’t been held since December 2008 as Kim Jong Il’s regime insisted United Nations sanctions be lifted first.
North Korea has been under UN Security Council sanctions for its two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. The disarmament talks also include China, Japan and the U.S.
South Korea’s military said last month it was monitoring Punggyeri in North Korea’s northeastern North Hamgyong province after the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported on Oct. 21 that movements may be related to preparations for a third nuclear test. A nuclear test by North Korea would be considered a “serious matter,” Admiral Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said in Seoul on Oct. 22. 

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