BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Saturday that he would seriously consider visiting South Korea as part of efforts to support peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, Yonhap News Agency reported.
China Central Television separately reported that Xi told South Korean Prime Minister Han Dak-soo on Saturday that China is ready to work to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Xi, who has not visited South Korea since 2014, held talks with Han in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou before the opening ceremony of the Asian Games on Saturday.
The commitment to cooperation came ahead of trilateral talks scheduled in Seoul on September 26 that include senior officials from China, Japan and South Korea, which aim to pave the way for the first summit between the three countries in four years.
Yonhap reported that Xi told Han that he would welcome such a summit at the appropriate time and would seriously consider visiting South Korea.
The Chinese statement did not mention Xi’s comment on the summit or his visit to Seoul.
Xi said, according to CCTV, that China attaches great importance to South Korea’s positive willingness to commit to cooperation, and asked South Korea to meet it halfway to maintain the direction of friendly cooperation. He said that the two countries can deepen mutually beneficial cooperation.
Xi said China supports inter-Korean dialogue and will continue efforts for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, while Han asked China to play a constructive role, Yonhap reported, citing what it said was a high-ranking South Korean government official. In relations with North Korea.
Tensions between the two countries escalated after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a week-long visit to Russia earlier this month, angering the United States, Japan and South Korea.
South Korea has imposed sanctions on 10 individuals and two entities in connection with North Korea’s nuclear program and arms trade with three countries, including Russia, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
(Reporting by Albie Zhang and Ryan Wu in Beijing and Joyce Lee in Seoul – Prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin) Editing by Mike Harrison and David Holmes
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