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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow in Power Talks With North and South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea -- The government has been negotiating deals to provide electricity to North and South Korea, an official said, although the talks are now in jeopardy because of UN Security Council sanctions against the communist nation, UES deputy board chairman Leonid Drachevsky said Friday.

The two projects, being proposed by the Far Eastern department of electricity monopoly Unified Energy Systems, would help meet the North's dire need for electricity to bolster its sagging economy plagued by endemic shortages, while also providing energy-hungry South Korea with power for its bustling economy.

"In my opinion, this project could be attractive commercially, technologically and in terms of increasing security. It could introduce a certain amount of stability into the situation on the peninsula," Drachevsky said.

Drachevsky said the original idea for the project had been proposed by South Korea and based on current electricity prices would require investment of at least $2 billion. "At the moment, this is at the level of ideas. We haven't got as far as the details," Drachevsky said, adding that the deal had been under consideration for some time.

One problem with the plan could be that the Russians want North Korea to pay in cash -- something Pyongyang does not have to spare. The South Koreans could pay the transit fees for the electricity lines running to the South.

"If you had transit, then of course there is interest in supplying North Korea," Drachevsky said. Drachevsky noted that the UN sanctions could delay the plans, but he was not ready to dismiss the proposal altogether.

"I don't think [sanctions] will be eternal," he said.