SEOUL, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev vowed Wednesday to bolster mutual cooperation on energy and resources sectors, opening the door for more economic exchanges between the two regional economic powerhouses.
Following their summit meeting held on the eve of the G20 summit among the world's major economies, the two leaders issued a joint statement where they reaffirmed and pledged to further enhance their strategic partnership.
Noting that the year 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries, the two presidents agreed to work on expanding exchanges between Seoul and Moscow by simplifying visa procedures and improving related legal system.
Lee and Medvedev noted the bilateral trade between the two countries is returning to the level seen before the global economic downturn and investment in Russia by South Korean firms has been on a steady rise, pledging to further encourage mutual investment.
Their two-way trade volume totaled 12.4 billion U.S. dollars as of September, and is expected to reach 17 to 18 billion U.S. dollars by the end of the year.
Joint projects on the energy and resources sectors were also on the table, with the leaders agreeing to promote private sector cooperation in developing Russia's mineral resources, modernizing its power grids and providing South Korea with Russia's natural gas.
Russia's gas pipe construction and connecting Russia's Trans- Siberian Railway (TSR) to South Korea's Trans-Korean Railway (TKR) will contribute to strengthening bilateral ties, the leaders noted.
Regional security issues were also discussed at the summit. Lee and Medvedev agreed that nuclear issues in the region should be resolved comprehensively and completely through a diplomatic means.
The two sides agreed to work closely on providing a fresh momentum to stalled six-party nuclear talks over ending nuclear programs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and Russia reaffirmed its support for inter-Korean dialogue that it said would help stabilize the region.
The summit was followed by a signing ceremony where government officials and business leaders from both sides struck a series of accords and business deals, including facilitating maritime transportation and simplifying visa procedures for officials based in both countries.
South Korea's POSCO, the world's No. 3 steelmaker, struck a separate deal with Russian metals company Mechel OAO to jointly work in natural resources development in Siberia.