VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon on Tuesday expressed his expectation for Mongolia's cooperation on Seoul's proposal to build an East Asian railway community aimed at promoting multilateral exchanges, trust and peace.
During his meeting with Mongolia's President Khaltmaa Battulga in Russia's far eastern port city of Vladivostok, Lee also voiced hope that the two countries will make progress in ongoing talks to elevate the bilateral relationship to a "strategic partnership."
"(I) expressed my appreciation to President Battulga, who has been trusted by both South and North Korea, for supporting our government's (peace) efforts," Lee said. "I expect you to exert constructive influence down the road."
During his Liberation Day speech on Aug. 15, South Korean President Moon Jae-in made the proposal to build the railway community involving several countries, including the two Koreas, Japan, China and Russia, saying that it could become a foundation for co-existence and prosperity in the region.
The prime minister also stressed the need for "practical progress" in the North's denuclearization to facilitate the railway connections.
"For the railways between the two Koreas to be connected, peace on the peninsula and exchanges and cooperation must take root," he said. "To that end, U.N. sanctions against the North need to be eased, and for that, there must be practical progress in the North's denuclearization."
The Mongolian president said that he had been told that the third inter-Korean summit between Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, slated to take place in Pyongyang next week, will result in new achievements.
During the talks, the president also noted his country's abundant energy resources such as coal and wind power, which may generate opportunities for energy cooperation with South Korea as well as Japan.
Lee was in Vladivostok to attend the Eastern Economic Forum that Russian President Vladimir Putin has hosted in Vladivostok every year since 2015.