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Russia's Gazprom revives Korean gas pipeline idea amid easing tensions

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Russia's Gazprom revives Korean gas pipeline idea amid easing tensions

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By Vladimir Soldatkin

VLADIVOSTOK (Reuters) - Russian natural gas producer Gazprom is revisiting plans to build a pipeline to South Korea across North Korea after noting signs of easing tensions on the Korean peninsula, a Gazprom executive said on Tuesday.

Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev told an economic forum in Russia's far east that Gazprom had returned to the idea of the pipeline in June "now signs have appeared of an improvement in the political situation".

"...We are in contact with our South Korean and North Korean colleagues. We are preparing to enter a very important stage... in this case it is preferable to call this the phase of investment substantiation," Medvedev said.

Gazprom has long planned to build the natural gas pipeline to South Korea, but the project has not materialised amid decades of tension between the two Koreas.

Those tensions have eased this year with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in scheduled to attend his third summit with North Koran leader Kim Jong Un next week in Pyongyang.

Seoul has pushed for a three-way summit involving U.S. President Donald Trump, with the aim of agreeing a joint declaration to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Jason Neely)

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