07MOSCOW4433, RUSSIA-SOUTH KOREA RELATIONS: NO FRICTION, BUT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW4433 2007-09-10 11:56 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO2658
OO RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #4433 2531156
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 101156Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3691
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 004433 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PARMS MNUC KS RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIA-SOUTH KOREA RELATIONS:  NO FRICTION, BUT 
THE NORTH TO WORRY ABOUT 
 
 
Classified By: Political M/C Alice G. Wells.  Reasons 1.4 (B/D). 
 
 
1.  (C) Summary.  GOR officials characterized the August 
30-31 Moscow visit by the South Korean Foreign Minister Song 
Min-Soon as "excellent" with no notable problem areas 
requiring serious negotiation, except the shared concern for 
North Korea's nuclear programs.  FM Lavrov summarized the 
Russia-South Korea relationship as one that is "on the rise 
in every sphere in an intensive, regular and trusting 
partnership."  The denuclarization of the North dominated the 
foreign ministers' meeting, while economic issues remained 
key questions on the bilateral front.  End summary. 
 
Six-Party Momentum 
------------------ 
 
2.  (C) At an August 31 press conference following the 
meeting with FM Song, FM Lavrov emphasized the partnership 
between the two countries, which are bound by regional 
security interests and mutual trade/investment.  Presidents 
Putin and Roh Moo-Hyun met on September 9 on the margins of 
the Sydney APEC Summit.  MFA Korea Desk Senior Counselor Oleg 
Davydov underlined that Song's visit, although hastily 
arranged as a short stop on his way back from the Middle 
East, was important for both countries, as the Six-Party 
Talks are at a momentous turning point.  According to the MFA 
and the Korean Embassy, the two foreign ministers agreed to 
help create an environment through the Six-Party process for 
eventual U.S.-DPRK diplomatic normalization. 
 
3.  (C) Korean Embassy Political Counselor Kim Chang-Gyu 
stressed that preparations for the Beijing Plenary could 
begin only after all Working Groups (WG) met.  The last 
WG--Japan-DPRK bilat meeting--ended on September 6.  South 
Korea, which had backed the U.S. push for a September 
Six-Party Ministerial, had reluctantly accepted Russia's 
insistence on a later meeting.  With China's objection to a 
Russian proposal to hold the Ministerial at UNGA in 
September, the two agreed on an October gathering of 
Six-Party foreign ministers in Beijing.  FM Song solicited 
the GOR's help with South Korea's proposal for confidence 
building measures, which South Korea circulated for the 
August 20-21 Russia-chaired WG on the North East Asia Peace 
and Security Mechanism and failed to garner support. 
 
Bilateral Cooperation: Economics First 
-------------------------------------- 
 
4.  (C) FM Lavrov welcomed the release of the Korean hostages 
from Afghanistan and supported the South-North October 2-3 
Summit.  In turn, FM Song secured Lavrov's support for South 
Korea hosting the 2014 EXPO in YoSoo.  However, Kim affirmed 
that economic cooperation was the main bilateral issue.  The 
two ministers discussed ways to introduce leading Korean 
firms to the Russian economy and joint energy and space 
projects, with the particular South Korean interest in 
Sochi-Olympic related infrastructure projects.  FM Lavrov 
also announced that the two governments were making efforts 
to bring North Korea to "trilateral" projects such as 
connecting the Trans-Korea with Trans-Siberian railways. 
(Note: The project has been under consideration since 2000 
but we have seen little progress. End note)  The South Korean 
government was seeking to involve Korean companies in the 
modernization of the North Korean side of the railway. 
 
5.  (C) A gas pipeline from Russia through North Korea to 
South Korea is a distant but real possibility, the ministers 
agreed.  The joint space program comprises two projects: 
training of a Korean cosmonaut in the Gagarin Center, which 
will put the first Korean in orbit later this year, and 
Korean import of a small size satellite launching system. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
6.  (C) While Russia's relationships both with China and 
Japan are complicated, Russia-South Korea relations seem to 
be paranoia-free.  For most Russians, Korea does not loom as 
a future strategic threat as the other two may.  How the GOR 
and ROK manage North Korea will further shape the 
relationship. 
Burns

Wikileaks

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