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Moon meets top Chinese diplomat, requests role for inter-Korean ties

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (right) shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (right) shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in greeted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday and stressed that his administration won't cease the drive for lasting peace on the peninsula.

"Our government will not stop efforts to put a (formal) end to war on the Korean Peninsula and achieve complete denuclearization and permanent peace together with the international community, including China," Moon told Wang at the start of their meeting, which pool reporters were allowed to cover.

He was apparently referring to the 1950-53 Korean War that finished in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

The president expressed his gratitude to China for its "constructive role and cooperation" so far in the Korea peace process.

He then asked Wang, who also serves as state councilor, to play "many roles" in developing Seoul-Beijing relations and inter-Korean ties.

In response, Wang reaffirmed China's support for the development of inter-Korean ties and the peace process, and vowed his country's continued cooperation, Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement.

Moon pointed out that South Korea and China have continued various bilateral exchanges despite the COVID-19 pandemic, setting an "exemplary case" of international cooperation.

He pointed out that the neighboring countries were quick in introducing a "fast-track" entry system to enable swift visits to each other by business travelers.

Noting that Seoul and Beijing will commemorate the 30th anniversary of forging diplomatic ties in 2022, Moon voiced hope for mapping out a "long-term development plan" to gear up for a "new 30 years" in their relationship.

Wang agreed that the two sides have promoted friendly ties and partnerships since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

He delivered President Xi Jinping's "special verbal message" for Moon. Xi was quoted as saying that he considers "personal friendship and mutual trust" with Moon very important.

Xi then expressed gratitude for Seoul's invitation, and expressed his will to visit when conditions allow, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

During the meeting with Wang, Moon also stressed the importance of the trilateral cooperation between their nations and Japan, and voiced hope for joint efforts to hold a three-way summit soon.

"South Korea will proactively work together for successful hosting of the upcoming Tokyo and Beijing Olympics, which are expected to contribute greatly to peace and stability of Northeast Asia," Moon was quoted by his office as saying.

Earlier in the day, Wang had one-on-one talks with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha apparently on Xi's plan to visit here and other major issues, especially as the US is preparing to embrace a new administration under Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.

Wang told reporters that he thinks Xi will be able to visit South Korea "as soon as (relevant) conditions mature."

Xi agreed to make a trip here within this year, but it has been postponed due to the coronavirus situation.

In meeting with Kang, Wang said they reached "10-point" consensus. He gave no specifics.

The agreements include promoting anti-coronavirus cooperation, establishing a committee for the development of bilateral relations and holding an annual trilateral summit involving Japan, according to a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, who spoke during a press briefing in Beijing.

South Korea is seeking to host the group summit in December.

Wang arrived in Seoul late on Wednesday for a two-night stay right after traveling to Tokyo. (Yonhap)

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