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Ministry encourages strong ties

By Zhang Yunbi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-21 07:15

ROK official to share views on key issues in state visit starting Tuesday

Beijing has urged Seoul to "continue making tangible efforts" to ensure the stable and healthy development of China-ROK ties, as Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha begins a visit to China on Tuesday.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Kang will visit China through Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Monday.

This is the ROK foreign minister's first trip to China as Seoul's top diplomat after assuming the post in June.

During her stay in China, the two sides will exchange views on the current situation and on how to advance and develop relations between China and the ROK, Lu said at a news briefing in Beijing.

Kang's visit comes after President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang separately met with ROK President Moon Jae-in this month on the sidelines of international meetings.

Xi told Moon that China welcomes Kang's visit and that the two countries should boost overall planning on developing their relationship and expanding cooperation in various fields.

Lu said on Monday the two sides should translate into actions the consensus reached by their leaders on improving and developing China-ROK relations.

Beijing and Seoul should enhance mutual political trust and respect each other's core interests and major concerns, Lu said.

The relationship has gone through a record low due to the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in the ROK.

Bilateral trade scored $202.2 billion in the first nine months of this year, a year-on-on increase of 11.4 percent, according to Ministry of Commerce.

Zhang Liangui, an expert on Korean studies at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said Seoul has worked harder than before in reinforcing economic cooperation with Beijing at a time China still plays a key role in its global trade.

Su Xiaohui, an international strategy researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said the key to repairing the ties lies in whether the two sides are fully committed to managing their differences and addressing problems.

One of the signals sent by both sides recently is that they expect improved ties, Su said.

As Kang's trip approached, Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency speculated whether Pyongyang had any message to be sent to Seoul via Song Tao, who concluded on Monday a four-day trip to the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as Xi's special envoy.

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