Russia is encouraging talks with both Korean governments to encourage the development of a natural gas pipeline, an envoy said. Russian energy company Gazprom announced in September that it signed a memorandum of understanding with North Korea to build a natural gas transmission system to the Korean Peninsula. South Korea said the project was in the very early stages of planning. Konstantin Vnukov, the Russian envoy to South Korea, said stability on the Korean Peninsula was related closely to Moscow\'s economic policies in the Far East. \"A trilateral talk will be needed to discuss building the gas pipeline through the demilitarized zone (between both Koreas),\" he was quoted by South Korea\'s Yonhap news agency as saying. \"Russia will directly communicate with the communist nation to ensure the safety of the pipeline.\" He added that Moscow, a member of the six-party disarmament talks, believes the Korean Peninsula should be free of nuclear weapons South Korea is one of the largest natural gas consumers in the world. If built, the pipeline has the potential to bring in more than $500 million each year in transit fees for the North Korean government. Seoul had said the reliability of gas supplies through North Korean territory would rest in Russian hands.