The leaders of South Korea and China, Presidents Park Geun-hye and Xi Jinping, will hold talks in Seoul next week to discuss ways to improve bilateral relations and to deal with North Korea’s nuclear program, Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.
Xi will arrive in Seoul on Thursday on a two-day visit. It will be the first time a Chinese leader makes an official visit to South Korea before traveling to North Korea. Xi visited Pyongyang in 2008 when he was the vice president.
“South Korea expects Xi’s trip to further strengthen trust and ties between the two leaders,” presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook said.
Xi’s visit to Seoul is expected to draw international attention as he has not yet met Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, a key ally of China.
The North Korean leader has yet to be invited to Beijing though three years have passed since he succeeded his father. The former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met with Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, in China, seven months before he died on Dec. 17, 2011.
Meanwhile, Park and Xi have met four times since they took the office in 2013. The South Korean leader visited China in June last year.
Min, Park’s spokesman, added that Cheong Wa Dae expects that the two leaders will intensify their “strategic partnership” through Xi’s upcoming visit. South Korea and China established diplomatic relations in 1992.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)