North Korea is "positive" about a project to lay an overland gas pipeline transporting Russian natural gas to South Korea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday.
Lavrov, who met with his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-hwan in Moscow on Monday, added he is optimistic about the success of the project, according to a South Korean government official.
Executives from Gazprom, Russia's largest extractor of natural gas, met with North Korean officials recently and agreed to meet again to discuss the details, Russian officials told their South Korean counterparts.
During President Lee Myung-bak's first visit to Russia in September 2008, South Korea and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding whereby Seoul will import 7.5 million tons of natural gas from Siberia every year for 30 years from 2015.
Once completed, the pipeline would reduce transportation cost for Russian natural gas to a mere 30 percent of the current cost of transporting it by ship.
Meanwhile, diplomatic sources speculated that there is a chance that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il will visit Vladivostok to meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, probably next month when Putin is in Siberia to mark the completion of a gas pipeline from Sakhalin to Vladivostok.