Visa-free exchanges between Russia and S. Korea could start in 2013

Visa-free exchanges between citizens of Russia and South Korea could begin on January 1, 2013, South Korea's Consul General in Vladivostok Lee Yang-goo said.

"The issue of visa-free travel between Russia and the Republic of Korea was raised at the APEC 2012 summit in Vladivostok in September. The Korean side has already finalized all of the official procedures and has forwarded the documents to the government of the Russian Federation," the South Korean diplomat told journalists during an official visit to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on Tuesday.

If Russia approves these documents, tourism flows between citizens of both countries will grow seriously, he said, announcing plans to add another seven weekly Vladivostok-Seoul flights to today's 14.

Visa-free travel becomes possible when two countries agree to meet two conditions - confidence building measures and the relevance of such trips, he said.

"Today's relations between Russia and Korea confirm the fulfillment of both conditions. I think that starting from 2013 citizens of our countries will be able to come to Korea and Russia as part of visa-free exchanges if they plan to stay on foreign soil for no longer than 30 days," the diplomat said.

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