Russian PM heads to S. Korea for energy, transport talks

Other News Materials 16 October 2006 15:45 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov will visit South Korea's capital on Tuesday to discuss major bilateral projects in the spheres of transport and energy, including unifying the countries' power networks, a government source said Monday.

The source said the talks in Seoul are expected to address the possible unification of energy networks in the Far East region, to link Russia and South Korea's systems via North Korea, with which Russia shares a border. Russia's nuclear chief will accompany the premier, for talks on South Korea's potential involvement in building international nuclear fuel centers in Russia, reports Trend.

The project to unify the three countries' power networks "is rather complex from a political standpoint, but we are currently working on its technical aspects," the source said.

The sides will also address supplies of Russian natural gas to South Korea, via a pipeline network controlled by energy giant Gazprom. South Korea has also shown an interest in oil production projects in Siberia and Russia's Far East, the source said.

Discussions in Seoul will also touch on cooperation in rail construction, including rebuilding the Trans-Korean Railroad, and linking it with the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

"Despite political difficulties, we agreed that this is a very interesting and promising project in economic terms," the source said, adding that Russian Railways could lead the project at its initial stage.

The head of the Russian nuclear agency, Sergei Kiriyenko, will hold talks with South Korean nuclear officials on building of international uranium enrichment centers in Russia, an idea initially proposed by Russia a means of resolving the Iranian nuclear dispute.

"We would like to find out on the level of government agencies, rather than on the level of prime ministers, whether South Korea is interested in creating international uranium enrichment centers in Russia," the source said.

Russia has already set up a joint nuclear fuel venture with Kazakhstan, a major uranium supplier, in the Siberian city of Angarsk near Irkutsk.