Seoul,Nov 27–Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul on Thursday, and the two sides agreed to deepen cooperation on regular epidemic prevention and control work and promote synergy of the Belt and Road Initiative and the development strategies of the South Korean side.

Wang said that the bilateral relations will show even broader prospects after the test of the epidemic, adding that it has provided experience and set an example of cooperation for all countries in the world to unite against the epidemic.

Speaking of strengthening cooperation, Wang said China is willing to work with South Korea to launch the Year of Cultural Exchange between China and South Korea in 2021 and hold the Beijing Winter Olympic and the Winter Youth Olympic Games in South Korea.

China supports South Korea in hosting the annual China-Japan-South Korea leaders’ meetings and accelerates China-Japan-South Korea free trade agreement negotiations, Wang said.

For his part, Moon said that South Korea looks forward to deepening cooperation with China in a wide range of areas, such as regional economic integration, climate change, and other global challenges.

Exchanging views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the two sides agreed to work together in playing constructive roles in the Korean Peninsula peace process.

Wang also met with former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan. He thanked the South Korean government and people for extending a helping hand when China was at the critical stage of combating COVID-19. 

Both countries fought hand in hand against the epidemic and took the lead in establishing the “fast-track” entry for necessary personnel exchanges and in carrying out cooperation in the resumption of work and production, becoming a role model of international anti-epidemic cooperation, said the Chinese diplomat.

During the meeting with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha on the same day, Wang said that China and South Korea have agreed to further ease pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Wang praised the “robustness” and “vitality” of China’s relations with South Korea, saying his trip to the country, despite COVID-19, shows how much Beijing values the bilateral partnership.

Kang Kyung-wha said Wang’s visit shows close cooperation between the foreign ministries of the two countries.

“Ahead of the 30th anniversary in 2022 of the establishment of bilateral ties, I hope for an exchange of opinions on further fleshing out the strategic partnership between the two countries,” Kang said.

Wang is visiting the neighboring country as South Korea is battling its new wave of infections.

Citing the country’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Yonhap reported that the daily number of coronavirus cases in South Korea surpassed 500 for the first time in over eight months on Thursday. The country now has a total caseload of 32,318.

At the meeting, the two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in prevention and control of the virus and further widen a “fast track” for travels. They also discussed creating a mechanism to tackle the virus in East Asia. 

The foreign ministers affirmed to further promote the bilateral strategic partnership and deepen cooperation as well as increase mutual trust. 

They also agreed to start dialogues regarding diplomatic relations, national security and maritime issues in order to further build trust and promote maritime cooperation.

On regional cooperation, both sides agreed to make efforts for the early enforcement of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and accelerate negotiations on the China-Japan-South Korea free trade area.

Wang and Kang agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation on the third-party market and new industries, and said they hoped to push forward the second-phase free-trade agreement talks between the countries.

They also said they are committed to maintaining the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, and agreed to solve regional denuclearization through political dialogue.

Wang told his South Korean counterpart that China firmly supports the improvement of ties between Pyongyang and Seoul.


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