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Putin reiterates readiness to assist Korean projects - 1

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Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Russia is ready to participate in joint transport and economic projects with North and South Korea, the Kremlin press service said on Tuesday.
(Adds details, background in paras 4-6)

MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed Russia is ready to participate in joint transport and economic projects with North and South Korea, the Kremlin press service said on Tuesday.

The president's comments came during a phone conversation with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun on the results of the North-South Korean summit in Pyongyang October 2-4.

"The Russian president hailed the talks, expressing his hopes that the inter-Korean process would continue in a constructive manner, and confirmed Russia's readiness to offer comprehensive assistance to the process, including through participation in joint transport and economic projects," the press service said.

In August, Russia proposed setting up trilateral commissions to discuss major economic projects with North and South Korea, including a possible link-up of the Trans-Korean and the Trans-Siberian railroads.

Russian companies have been negotiating the reconstruction of the eastern sector of the Trans-Korean and the Trans-Siberian lines since Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-il, the leader of Communist North Korea, discussed in 2003 the linking of the networks to create a trade route from Far Eastern ports to Western Europe.

The two Koreas have been increasing efforts to improve relations ever since breakthrough six-nation talks in February, which also involved China, Japan, Russia, and the United States, at which Pyongyang agreed to scrap its nuclear program in exchange for aid, energy supplies, and security guarantees.

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