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Seoul's top diplomat to meet secretary of Chinese province bordering NK

By Ji Da-gyum

Published : April 23, 2024 - 17:10

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South Korea's top diplomat is set to meet with Hao Peng, the party secretary of Liaoning province in China, which shares a border with North Korea, on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday.

South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul and Hao will "discuss ways to enhance substantive cooperation" between South Korea and Liaoning province, as well as other topics of mutual interest on the occasion of luncheon, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk said during a televised regular briefing.

"His visit to South Korea will greatly contribute to expanding exchanges and cooperation between South Korea and Liaoning province and invigorate provincial-level exchanges between the two countries," Lim said.

Hao's visit is the first by a Chinese provincial secretary to South Korea since the outbreak of COVID-19. The last recorded visit by a provincial secretary was in December 2019, when then-party secretary of Shandong province, Liu Jiayi, visited South Korea, according to the Foreign Ministry's database.

Boosting economic cooperation will be one of the key agenda topics for bilateral talks.

"The Foreign Ministry can attribute significance of a visit by a key provincial secretary in the realms of economic diplomacy and public diplomacy," a senior Foreign Ministry official said, who wished to remain anonymous, during a closed-door briefing.

The importance extends beyond "safeguarding the interests of Korean companies and citizens to bolstering substantive cooperation, including (facilitating) the entry of Korean companies into local markets," the official added.

Liaoning province holds significance for South Korea, with around 500 South Korean companies stationed in the region. Additionally, Hao's itinerary in South Korea encompasses meetings with key personnel from major companies.