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In light of Pyongyang provisionally green-lighting the project, South Korea and Russia will discuss a natural gas pipeline transiting North Korea later this month.
South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae told journalists, "A delegation of Russia's Gazprom recently visited North Korea and discussed the issue. And then, consultations between Gazprom and Korea Gas will be held this month. Based on the results of the consultations, I understand that there would be a new round of meetings between Russia and North Korea."
Last week South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said that North Korea reacted "positively" to the construction, commenting, "We view that this project will be a win-win deal for both Koreas, providing a considerable cash revenue on one hand for North Korea, through which the pipeline will run, and large amounts of natural gas for us, which will help bring down the price of imported natural gas on the other," South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
A number of issues remain to be resolved before construction, not the least of which is the fact that, as the Korean War ended with an armistice in 1953, North and South Korea still technically remain at war, 58 years later.
In 2008 Gazprom and Korea Gas signed an agreement for the Russian state-owned energy monopoly to provide 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year to Korea Gas for 30 years beginning in 2015.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com