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SEOUL, May 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is seeking to resume talks on a free trade deal with Russia as part of efforts to expand its economic cooperation with the country, the government said Tuesday.
Free trade agreement (FTA) talks with Russia came to a halt in 2008 when Russia suspended negotiations unilaterally.
In a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok to discuss trade affairs, the government decided to resume FTA talks with Russia as quickly as possible, a move aimed at pre-empting the market there and laying the foundation to resolve possible trade disputes between the two countries.
The move is part of the government's push to strengthen cooperation with Russia in diverse areas including economy, politics and diplomacy.
Hyun emphasized the importance of beefing up cooperation with Russia, which he expects to emerge as a major regional growth engine.
"In order to better capitalize on opportunities that Russia is expected to provide, we will push for a renewed policy toward the north aimed at seeking cooperation not just in the economy but also in politics and diplomatic ties," Hyun told the meeting.
The minister said that Russia is poised to emerge as a new growth engine in Eurasia following its entry into the World Trade Organization last year. The country is also pushing to develop the Far East and Siberia, while strengthening its ties with Asia-Pacific countries based on the strong leadership of President Vladimir Putin.
He noted that South Korea will be well prepared for the economy, science and technology meeting with Russia scheduled in July and summit talks that are expected to be held later.
The government said that it plans to use the meeting along with other dialogue channels as a chance to discuss resumption of the suspended FTA talks with Russia.
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