SEOUL, South Korea's push to expand economic cooperation with Russia, China and their neighboring countries is expected to promote peace and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula if it draws in North Korea's participation in joint projects, the chief of a presidential committee said Monday.

South Korea has been exploring ways to step up economic cooperation with Russia and other Northeastern Asian nations in various areas under President Moon Jae-in's so-called New Northern Policy, launching the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation last year.

Under the initiative, South Korea and Russia have launched a consultative body to push for joint economic projects in various areas, including energy, shipbuilding, fishery and transportation, to create new growth drivers.

For some of cross-border projects that link South Korea and Russia's Far East, such as a gas pipeline and railway, North Korea's participation is essential.

"The initiative not only aims for economic growth of Eurasia but also provides alternatives for North Korean people so they can live without resorting to nuclear weapons," committee chairman Song Young-gil said during an international seminar held in Seoul. "The New Northern Policy will ultimately contribute to laying the groundwork for promoting prosperity and peace on the Korean Peninsula."

Source: Yonhap News Agency