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Korean Ambassador to Russia Lee Youn-ho Talks to Arirang News on Bilateral Ties & N. Korean Affairs Updated: 2011-02-24 12:00:00 KST

Korean Ambassador to Russia Lee Youn-ho Talks to Arirang News on Bilateral Ties & N. Korean Affairs
[Interview : Lee Youn-ho, Korean Ambassador to Russia ] "I've only heard media reports on the Cheonan but I felt the need to check out the scene in person. Seeing it made me realize where South Korea's security stands and the need for South Koreans to pay more attention to national security and be ready for the unexpected."

[Reporter : Kang Che-ry] Like the Cheonan incident, North Korea's bad behavior last year certainly posed a major headache for the Lee Myung-bak administration. Where do you think Russia is in terms of backing South Korea's demand that North Korea apologize for its provocations and also give up its nuclear weapons[Interview : Lee Youn-ho, Korean Ambassador to Russia ] "Russia's stance is very clear. Russia believes there should not be any military provocations on the Korean peninsula and that North Korea must give up its nuclear weapons. There is no doubt that Russia is making efforts on its own."

[Reporter : ] As Korea's ambassador to Russia expectations are high for you, as a non-career diplomat to be able to do a better job in upgrading the bilateral relations between Korea and Russia, especially in terms of economic cooperation projects.
How would you assess Seoul-Moscow ties[Interview : Lee Youn-ho, Korean Ambassador to Russia ] "South Korea-Russia relations are at a very crucial point where the two countries are realizing the mutual benefit and establishing bilateral trust. And this is not just an expectation or hope. In particular, Russia is dependent on its natural resources and one of the country's major goals is to develop the manufacturing sector. It is seeking economic modernization. South Korea is strong in manufacturing so it can contribute to Russia's development. Russia is abundant in natural resources, especially in crude oil and gas. In that aspect, the two countries can cooperate and help each other. In terms of politics, I believe that Russia's help is much needed for South Korea to ease inter-Korean tensions, realize the denuclearization of North Korea and eventually achieve unification."

[Reporter : ] What are some of the remaining tasks for you in the post[Interview : ] "I believe Russia has a lot to contribute to the peace and safety on the Korean peninsula. Also, on the economic front, the two countries can further enhance ties because their economies are mutually supplementary. The two-way trade volume was around 17.7 billion US dollars last year and I think that we can achieve 20 billion, 30 billion and 50 billion dollars in the coming days. And as we all know, Russia is a culturally rich country. Korea also has over 5,000 years of history and culture. I believe it's very important for the two countries' people to create opportunities to better understand one another and feel friendlier based on a cultural understanding. Therefore, I am strongly convinced that Korea and Russia have a richer, brighter future than the past.

[Reporter : ] Alright, Ambassador.
Thank you so much for joining us today.
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