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ROK president to pay his first visit to China
( 2003-06-27 09:11) (China Daily)

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun gestures as he speaks about South Korea 's bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics during a news conference at the presidental Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, June 23, 2003. [Reuters]

The President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Roh Moo-hyun will be in China from July 7 to 10, his first visit since coming to power last December, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan announced yesterday.

Over the years the two nations have maintained high-level exchanges and have witnessed rapid development of their economic relations with still great potential remaining, said the spokesman.

Beijing observers believe Roh's visit is aimed at affirming the new governments' policy on development of bilateral relations.

"They are expected to establish objectives of bilateral co-operative partnership," said Piao Jianyi, executive director of the Centre for Korean Peninsula Issues Studies at the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The two countries agreed to build a co-operative partnership orientated towards the 21st century, during a visit by former President Kim Dae-jung to China in 1998.

"The main topic (of the forthcoming visit) is believed to be economic and trade co-operation," Piao said, adding that China may become the largest investment destination of the ROK.

"Both sides are expected to reaffirm their stance on the nuclear issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," Piao said.

Also yesterday, Kong said China welcomes Iran's positive attitude on the issue of signing an additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, an Iranian government spokesman said on Monday that his country is committed to all treaties which can make the world more peaceful.

Kong also announced that Vice-Premier Wu Yi, who is also minister of health, will attend the APEC Health Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand tomorrow to address the economic impact of SARS.

Kong also announced Vanuatu's Prime Minister Nipake Edward Natapei will pay a working visit to China from June 30 to July 6.

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