Putin Addresses Plenary Session of Vladivostok Eastern Economic Forum

September 8, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin made several important comments during a debate session and during the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum which bear directly on resolving the crisis on the Koran Peninsula and North East Asia According to TASS, Putin said he saw a willingness on the part of the Trump Administration to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, saying, "We can see the current [U.S.] administration's willingness to ease the situation."

"I believe we need to see how the situation develops," he said. "There can be only a diplomatic solution to the issue. This is an uneasy and slow way to resolve the issue but it is the only possible one." In Putin's view, there is a need to launch talks and convince Seoul that it is the best way to settle the situation.

When the debate moderator, who was an American, asked about relations between North Korea and the United States, Putin turned the question around and asked the debate moderator why he did not forward the question to the leaders of the U.S. allies in the region, Japan and South Korea, who are present at the meeting. "I will ask them later," the moderator answered.

The President argued for North Korea to be involved in joint projects, saying: "North Korea needs to be gradually involved in regional cooperation, Russia has some specific proposals that everyone knows about, which include building a joint railway connecting the Trans-Siberian Railway and Korean railways through North Korea, as well as the development of pipeline transport and North Korea's ports to name a few."

Putin also spoke of building a railway to Sakhalin Island. "We are closely considering the possibility of building a railway to Sakhalin," he said. He also described that along with the development of the Northern Sea Route, modernization of the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway, and the implementation of other projects, it would "help turn the Far East into one of the most important global logistics hubs." Putin stressed, "as far as ambitious projects are concerned, the Far East provides unique opportunities and competitive advantages."