Putin promises ‘productive’ Russia role in denuclearizing N. Korea

SEOUL-- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that his country was ready to play a "productive" role in ending the North Korean nuclear issue, also promising to enhance the country's cooperation with South Korea, Seoul's presidential office said.

Putin's remarks came during a call to his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in, who came into office earlier in the week following his election in a rare presidential by-election held Tuesday.

"I believe Russia is our country's best partner in working to ensure the peace and prosperity of Eurasia," the new South Korean president told Putin, according to his presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Moon then proposed the countries to enhance their bilateral cooperation in three major areas, including joint efforts to end North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

"I hope Russia will play a constructive role to help place North Korea back on the track to denuclearization. I too plan to seek the early resumption of South-North dialogue and six-party talks," Moon was quoted as saying.

The six-party talks on ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions have been stalled since late 2008, largely due to a North Korean boycott. The talks involve both South and North Korea, Russia, the United States, Japan and China.

Putin was the last leader of those countries, save North Korea, to call Moon this week to congratulate him on his election.

Moon also asked Seoul and Moscow to boost their energy cooperation while jointly developing Russia's far east Siberian region and the Arctic region bordered by Russia for new shipping routes.

Putin agreed with the need to boost the countries' bilateral cooperation, saying his country was ready to "continue cooperating in all the areas mentioned today," Cheong Wa Dae said.

He also noted that Russia was ready to play a "productive" role to help resolve the North Korean issue, it added.

The two heads of state also extended invitations to each other to visit their countries, also promising to meet in person at the upcoming G20 summit scheduled to be held in Germany in July.

Moon said he planned to send a special envoy to Russia in the near future. Putin agreed to personally meet the envoy, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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