President Moon Jae-in returned home Thursday after his two-day visit to Vladivostok for a regional economic summit and talks with other global leaders, including his Russian counterpart, on ways to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile developments.
Moon's trip to the Russian city followed North Korea's latest nuclear test Sunday.
The South Korean leader sought to win international support for what he called the most powerful sanctions against the North so that the impoverished nation will have no choice but to come to the dialogue table.
In his bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin held Wednesday, Moon proposed pushing for a new U.N. Security Council resolution that would cut off all oil supplies to the North.
Putin noted his country only shipped about 40,000 tons of oil to North Korea a year but still remained reluctant to give his support, citing possible damage to the ordinary people there.
Still, the two leaders made significant progress when it came to economic issues.
They agreed to jointly push for a new free trade agreement between South Korea and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The EEU consists of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia.
Seoul and Moscow will also work to boost their bilateral trade to US$30 billion in 2020, compared with $25.8 billion in 2014, Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.
Moon also met with his Mongolian counterpart Khaltmaagiin Battulga to discuss various issues, including the countries' joint efforts to prevent additional provocations by North Korea.
The North's latest and sixth nuclear test is widely considered its most powerful test staged so far.
Early in the day, the South Korea president held a bilateral summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before attending the plenary session of the third Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).
The two agreed to push for a new UNSC resolution on North Korea that would completely cut off oil supplies to the country already stricken by a chronic energy shortage.
"Regarding the North's nuclear test and missile launches, the leaders of the two countries noted it was time to increase pressure on the North rather than engage the country in dialogue under the current conditions where the international community's condemnation and pressure against the North continue to intensify," Moon's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said earlier.
Moon and Abe also agreed to work together to win China and Russia's support for the proposed UNSC resolution.
Beijing and Moscow are both veto-wielding permanent members of the UNSC. They are also considered sympathetic toward their communist neighbor North Korea.
"It is important to make sure the conditions surrounding the Korean Peninsula will not further deteriorate to enter an uncontrollable state," Moon was quoted as saying.
The South Korean president earlier noted Pyongyang had been forced to agree to six-nation negotiations on ending its nuclear ambitions when China, host of the six-way talks, temporarily shut off its oil pipelines to the North.
While attending the regional economic summit hosted by Russia, Moon called for increased economic cooperation between countries in the region to ensure their joint development and co-prosperity, which he said may help North Korea think about giving up its nuclear ambitions and working with others. (Yonhap)