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Presidential hopeful Yoon vows to enhance Seoul-Beijing ties

Yoon Seok-youl (right) the presidential candidate of the main opposition People Power Party, shakes hands with Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming at his party's headquarters in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)
Yoon Seok-youl (right) the presidential candidate of the main opposition People Power Party, shakes hands with Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming at his party's headquarters in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)
Yoon Seok-youl, the presidential candidate of the main opposition People Power Party, vowed on Friday to enhance ties with China if he becomes president. 

Yoon made the remarks during a meeting with Chinese Ambassador Xing Haiming at the party’s headquarters in Yeouido, western Seoul, during which he stressed that South Korea and China are each other’s most important trade partners and that next year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between them. 

“Through this occasion, I hope we will be able to understand each other better and develop into a very close relationship,” Yoon told Xing. “If I come to power, I will do my best to upgrade Seoul-Beijing ties.” 

In response, Xing said Chinese people have friendly feelings toward Korea. “We are close neighbors, and we are interested in what’s going on in (Korea).” 

The two also touched on the recent shortage here of urea solution, an essential fluid used to reduce emissions from diesel vehicles. 

“We had no idea about (the urea solution problem) in advance,” said Xing. “We are well aware of Korean people’s difficulties and we will do our best (in this regard). I am confident that we can resolve this problem through dialogue and communication and maintain our good relations.”

Seoul has been grappling with a dire shortage of urea solution, also known as diesel exhaust fluid, in recent weeks after China effectively restricted exports of some fertilizers and related materials, including urea. The new regulation was passed to address the country’s power crisis, prompted by a coal shortage. 

Urea, the main ingredient in a fluid used in diesel vehicles and factories to cut emissions, is usually made using coal.

Korea was hit especially hard as it imports all of its urea from overseas, with China accounting for 97 percent.

Yoon’s archrival, Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party, also met with Xing last week and asked for China’s help in dealing with the urea crisis.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)
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