China, S. Korea to enhance people-to-people exchanges

Updated: 2014-07-03 21:09


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SEOUL - Chinese President Xi Jinping and his South Korean counterpart, Park Geun-hye, on Thursday pledged to enhance people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

Both countries will celebrate the Year of Chinese Tourism in South Korea in 2015 and the Year of South Korean Tourism in China in 2016, according to a joint statement issued after a meeting between the two leaders here.

China and South Korea will enhance cooperation in education and youth exchanges through a series of programs, the statement said.

During the Xi-Park meeting, the two leaders decided to unveil a list of programs for cultural exchanges in 2014. It includes a total of 19 programs in such areas as youth exchanges, government scholarship and traditional art.

The two sides welcome a consensus on the text of an accord on waiving visa for service passport holders. They also decided to negotiate to gradually expand the visa-free coverage, the statement said.

China and South Korea will make joint efforts to elevate bilateral personnel exchanges to 10 million in 2016, it added.

The two countries also pledged to enhance cooperation in such areas as public diplomacy, culture industry, film production, panda research,protection of cultural heritage and hosting sports events.

China and South Korea established a joint committee for cultural exchanges, after Park visited China in 2013. They decided to hold the second meeting of the committee in the second half of 2014.

Xi arrived here Thursday for a two-day state visit to South Korea, his first trip to the Asian neighbor since he took office last year.

During his stay, Xi will also meet National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa and Prime Minister Chung Hong-won.