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Russia to boost cooperation with North, South Korea - 1

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(Recasts headline, lead, adds quotes, details, background in paras 3-10)

MOSCOW, August 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has proposed setting up trilateral ministerial commissions in various areas of cooperation with North and South Korea, a technology regulator said Thursday.

"Misunderstanding and scarce information between the countries are holding back many important projects," Konstantin Pulikovsky said.

He said the upcoming meeting between North and South Korean leaders, due in late August in Pyongyang, would provide a boost for implementing scientific-technical, trade, and economic projects, and that many of these proposed schemes involve all three countries. The first such meeting was held in 2000.

"The summit will help strengthen good-neighborly relations between the two Koreas, providing a fresh impetus to the implementation of large-scale economic projects, such as the construction of a Trans-Korean railroad, and linking it with the Trans-Siberian Railway," he said.

Negotiations on the rail link have been conducted at three-way consultations between Russia, North and South Korea.

South Korea proposed that North Korea, and Russia invite other states to discuss the financial issues of linking the Trans-Korean Railroad with the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

RZD has been negotiating the reconstruction of the eastern sector of the Trans-Korean Railroad and the Trans-Siberian Railroad, since Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il discussed linking the three railroads to create a trade route from the Far Eastern ports to Western Europe in 2003.

In May, two trains made the first rail crossings between North and South Korea since the 1951-1953 Korean War, in a historic link-up.

The two Koreas have been striving to improve relations since the breakthrough six-nation talks in February, involving North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States, when Pyongyang agreed to dismantle its nuclear program for aid, energy supplies and security guarantees.

North and South Korea re-linked their railways on June 14, 2003 on two sections of a 4 kilometer demilitarization zone, which divides the peninsula along the 38th parallel.

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