A group of South Korean lawmakers will embark on a three-day visit to China this week for talks with Beijing officials over bilateral relations and North Korea's escalating nuclear threats, their aides said Wednesday.
The bipartisan group will leave for the Chinese capital on Thursday, two days after Seoul and Beijing announced their agreement to normalize relations that were strained over the installation of a US missile defense system in Korea.
The group consists of six lawmakers, including Chung Dong-young of the minor opposition People's Party, Lee Seok-hyun of the ruling Democratic Party, Na Kyung-won of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party and Choung Byoung-gug of the Bareun Party.
|This photo, taken on Sept. 21, 2017, shows Chung Dong-young of the minor opposition People`s Party speaking during a party meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)|
It plans to meet prominent Chinese figures, including Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, Fu Ying, the chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, and Tang Jiaxuan, the country's former state councilor.
Before Tuesday's agreement, the relations between the two neighbors were at one of their lowest points, as Beijing has vigorously opposed the deployment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here.
Beijing suspects that a powerful THAAD radar could be used to spy on its military, while Seoul and Washington have claimed that it is intended solely to counter Pyongyang's threats.
A strengthened US missile defense shield has long been anathema to China, as it could temper its offensive military capabilities against potential adversaries, particularly when it is pushing to enhance its offshore power projection capabilities, observers said. (Yonhap)