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China’s vice premier to visit S. Korea

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang will visit South Korea next week for talks on bilateral relations and Korean Peninsula issues, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Wednesday.

Li is the seventh-ranked member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China and is expected to rise to premiership in the next meeting of the National People’s Congress next year.

His two-day trip starting next Wednesday comes at the invitation of the South Korean government and will include courtesy calls on President Lee Myung-bak, Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae, the ministry said in a press release.

The sides are expected to discuss their bilateral relations, Korean Peninsula issues and boosting cooperation in regional and global affairs, it said. The trip comes as part of high-level exchange visits between the countries and marks Li’s first visit to South Korea since taking office in 2008.

Relations between the two nations were upgraded to a strategic cooperative partnership in 2008. Since then, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee has visited South Korea every year.

Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Seoul in August 2008, followed by Vice President Xi Jinping in December 2009 and Premier Wen Jiabao in May 2010. 

(Yonhap News)