FM Cho to visit China next week for talks with Wang Yi

Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul holds phone talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Feb. 6, in this photo provided by the Korean foreign ministry. Yonhap

Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul will visit China early next week for talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, the foreign ministry said Friday, marking the first trip to Beijing by a South Korean top diplomat in more than six years.Cho’s two-day trip to Beijing from Monday through Tuesday comes as South Korea faces the task of managing the relationship with China that has soured amid Seoul’s strong alignment with the United States under the Yoon Suk Yeol government.It will mark the first visit to China by a South Korean foreign minister since November 2017, when then Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha paid a visit during the administration of then President Moon Jae-in.His visit also comes ahead of a widely expected trilateral summit among the leaders of South Korea, China and Japan that Seoul seeks to capitalize on to boost the three-way cooperation with its Asian neighbors. The summit is most likely to take place from May 26-27.Cho will discuss with Wang “issues of common interest, from bilateral relations, the trilateral summit and the Korean Peninsula, to regional and global issues,” the ministry said in a press release.Cho also plans to have a meeting with South Korean businesspeople working in China and discuss ideas and efforts on how to bolster bilateral business exchanges with Beijing.

Bilateral ties between Seoul and Beijing deteriorated to a low point last year when Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Xing Haiming publicly warned his host country that it would “definitely regret it” if it “bets on China’s defeat” in its rivalry with the U.S.Xing’s remarks were seen to reflect Beijing’s displeasure over Seoul moving closer to Washington in a departure from the previous Moon Jae-in government that gave weight to its relationship with China.Beijing has also reacted angrily to Yoon’s comments about maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, a highly sensitive issue that China considers to be its own affair in which no other countries have right to intervene.South Korea has been looking to improve its ties with China, given the strategic need to do so with its largest trading partner and a key player in its diplomacy with North Korea.Taking office as foreign minister early in January, Cho stressed the importance of keeping a “stable” relationship with Beijing, citing the potential for deeper cooperation in the economy, North Korean issues and other areas.In their first phone talks in February, Wang extended an invitation to Cho to visit Beijing to further advance the bilateral relationship.During the visit, Cho also plans to convene a conference of South Korean consuls general stationed in China’s regional provinces to stress the importance of municipal-level exchanges in the development of bilateral ties.In late April, Cho held talks with Hao Peng, the communist party secretary of China’s Liaoning province, in Seoul and discussed cooperation in supply 스포츠토토존 chains and investment

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