South Korean President Moon Jae-in will head to China this week for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping that will focus on ways to denuclearize North Korea and improve the countries' bilateral ties, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Monday.
The summit will be held Thursday, one day after the South Korean leader arrives in Beijing for a four-day state visit.
It will be their second meeting since the countries issued a joint statement on Oct. 31 to normalize their ties estranged by the deployment of the US THAAD missile defense system in South Korea. The two leaders met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Danang, Vietnam, last month.
It will also mark the third bilateral summit between the two leaders since Moon took office in May.
"President Moon's state visit to China is expected to be an opportunity for the countries to normalize their bilateral ties in earnest by repairing the trust between the two countries and deepen the friendship between the two leaders," said Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director of the presidential National Security Office.
North Korea's persistent nuclear ambition will also be high on the agenda of the Moon-Xi meeting.
"Also, the two leaders are scheduled to hold in-depth discussions on ways to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula," he told a press briefing.
Moon's trip to China comes two weeks after Pyongyang launched an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile on Nov. 29, resuming its missile provocations after a 75-day hiatus.
The communist state has staged 11 missile tests since the Moon Jae-in administration came into office in May, along with its sixth and most powerful nuclear test so far, staged Sept. 3.
Cheong Wa Dae earlier said President Moon's trip will include a two-day visit to Chongqing. Moon will return home on Saturday. (Yonhap)