South Korean and Russian leaders have agreed that South Korea will participate in a North Korea-Russia rail and port development project in North Korea, a move that is expected to help ease tensions between the two Koreas.
The agreement was made in a summit between Presidents Park Geun-hye and Vladimir Putin at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul Wednesday.
Putin arrived in South Korea for a one-day visit earlier in the day, after a trip to Vietnam.
Under the Park-Putin agreement, South Korean steel giant POSCO, Hyundai Merchant Marine and Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) will take part in the Rajin-Khasan project.
Russia has a 70-percent stake in the joint project and North Korea holds the remaining 30 percent. A consortium consisting of the three South Korean companies plans to invest a combined 210 billion won to buy a half of the Russian stake, reports said.
The $340 million Rajin-Khasan project, launched in 2008, is to repair a 54-kilometer rail link between Rajin in North Korea and Khasan in Russia, and develop the port of Rajin into a logistics hub.
In Wednesday’s summit, Park and Putin also agreed that Seoul will transfer shipbuilding technology to Moscow, and that Russia will give South Korean shipbuilders orders to build 13 large LNG (liquefied natural gas) tankers.
In addition, South Korea and Russia signed a visa-exemption agreement which allows the peoples of the two countries to visit each other's nation without a visa for up to 60 days.
The summit was the second summit between Park and Putin. They first met in September on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia.