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Korea, China agree to increase nuclear safety cooperation

South Korea and China agreed on Wednesday to seek ways to tighten their cooperation on nuclear safety in the wake of massive radiation leaks from a tsunami-hit nuclear plant in Japan and prevent any spread of damage to neighboring countries, the Seoul government said.

South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao also vowed efforts to move forward "strategic partnership" relations between the countries in their talks in Beijing, Kim's office said.

Kim is on an official four-day visit to China that started Tuesday. The meeting comes as the discharge of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan has unnerved the region. Earlier last week, South Korea aired its concern over the release of more than 11,000 tons of water into the Pacific Ocean after it was used to cool off reactors that have spiraled out of control since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

During the talks that were carried out in "a frank and amicable atmosphere," Kim asked for Beijing's "constructive role" in bringing North Korea back to the dialogue table with sincerity, his office said.

Wen, in response, reaffirmed his country's support for inter-Korean dialogue, it said. He also expressed hope that Seoul will communicate closely with Beijing for the resumption of the stalled six-party denuclearization talks also involving the United States, Japan, Russia and North Korea and for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim proposed that Chinese President Hu Jintao visit Seoul to attend the 2012 nuclear summit and Wen to hold a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on the sidelines of the trilateral summit involving South Korea, China and Japan set to open in Tokyo next month.

As for measures to increase cooperation on the international stage, Kim asked for China's support for PyeongChang's bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Seoul's efforts to host the 18th session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, slated for next year.

The two sides agreed to continue tightening cooperation over the reform of the U.N. Security Council, the office said.

After the talks, the two officials conversed on political situations in and around their countries, ways to promote economic cooperation and other issues of mutual interest, it said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Kim met with Wu Bangguo, China's top legislator and the country's second-ranking official, and discussed ways to increase parliamentary cooperation and other pending issues between the countries.

The South Korean official will head to Hainan Island off China's southern coast on Thursday to attend the Boao Forum for Asia, one of the region's major annual economic meetings, according to his office.

Kim will pay a visit to Chinese President Hu Jintao and hold meetings with the Ukrainian and Spanish prime ministers on the sidelines of the forum, it said.

He is scheduled to return home Friday after delivering a keynote address in the forum. (Yonhap News)