Moon heads to Russia to meet Putin

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Seoul, June 21 (IANS) South Korean President Moon Jae-in left on Thursday for a three-day visit to Russia, during which he will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss recent thaw in ties with North Korea and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Apart from meeting Putin, Moon is also expected to meet Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during his visit, which would be the first by a South Korean President to Russia in 19 years, Efe news reported.

Moon is set to speak in front of the State Duma — the Lower House of the Russian Parliament — after arriving in Moscow, his office said in a statement.

His speech is expected to be focused on strengthening bilateral relations and the current thaw on the Korean Peninsula.

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Moon said he wants to boost trilateral economic cooperation between the two Koreas and Russia, which is a trade partner of Pyongyang and has been an important mediator in past denuclearization negotiations with the Kim Jong-un regime.

Moon and Putin are expected to discuss trilateral cooperation in areas like rail-transport and the supply of electricity and gas.

“The visit is expected to help promote strategic cooperation between the two countries to establish peace in Northeast Asia amid positive developments in security conditions,” Nam Gwan-pyo, a director at Seoul’s National Security Office, told Yonhap news agency.

Moon would end his Russia visit on Saturday with a trip to the city of Rostov to attend the Fifa World Cup match between South Korea and Mexico.

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