December 20, 2011 10:56
The prospects of a project aimed at building a gas pipeline linking South Korea and Russia via North Korea have become more uncertain due to the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The planned project is based on an estimated investment of US$3.4 billion.
Before Kim's death was reported on Monday, two days after the "Dear Leader" died of a heart attack, Seoul and Moscow were making significant progress in terms of negotiations on the project. The two sides completed talks on how to supply the gas from Russia to the South, and aimed to conclude the deal in the first half of next year.
As Kim is known to have visited Russia in August for discussions on the issue, the likelihood of the project being realized was believed to be high.
"There is a high possibility that the project to receive gas from Russia via North Korea will make rapid progress," Choi Joong-Kyung, the former Minister of Knowledge Economy, said in September.
He added that things were progressing smoothly and even faster than expected as Russia was actively chasing the deal and the North was not presenting any opposition to the plan.
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