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High-level meeting sets stage for warmer ties

China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-27 08:50

Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye arrived today in China for a state visit that is seen as crucial by both sides.

High-level meeting sets stage for warmer ties

A group of children wearing hanbok, a traditional Korean-style costume, sing in a chorus to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Korea. [Photo by Yonhapnews]

She will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during her stay in Beijing to develop a blueprint for a shared vision of regional prosperity and security. Her arrival comes at a time when the two countries are celebrating 20 years of diplomatic ties.

In addition, new administrations took office in both countries at the beginning of this year.

With the world's attention focused on the nuclear program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, a summit between the two heads of state is expected to be a milestone for relations in the region.

The personal relationship between Park and her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping dates back to before they came into office. And since taking up their posts, they have maintained close relations through the exchange of special envoys and personal letters as well as telephone conversations.

Park has ample knowledge of China and holds a favorable view of the country. According to her memoir, she made four visits to China in the mid-2000s and had many opportunities to meet with Chinese people, including a lecture at Peking University.

The first special envoy sent by Park's administration was dispatched to China, showing the nation's significance to the current ROK government.

During the summit, the two presidents are expected to evaluate the development of bilateral ties over the past 20 years. It is also believed that they will come to an agreement on a common vision for the direction of bilateral relations over the next five years and beyond.

The summit is expected to serve as an opportunity for both countries to push forward an agenda of de-nuclearization as well as the promotion of peace, cooperation and shared prosperity in Northeast Asia.

Economic cooperation is also expected to be a key talking point at the summit. With $215.1 billion in trade last year, China is currently ROK's largest trading partner.

Other topics likely to come up in discussion include ways to expand mutual trade and investment through measures like a forum on a Korea-China free trade area.

The two sides will also discuss potential scientific and technological partnerships in such fields as IT and telecommunications as well as cooperation on the environment, finance and energy.

In addition, the leaders are expected to talk about strengthening cultural exchanges and related cooperation as well as increasing people-to-people exchanges through tourism.

South China Morning Post

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