Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit South Korea next week for the first time in over five years, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
He will visit Dec. 4-5 at the invitation of South Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Kang Kyung-wha.
Kang and Wang are expected to arrange a summit between President Moon Jae-in and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the occasion of Moon’s visit to China for a trilateral meeting with Japan and China, which will be held in Chengdu next month.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (AFP)
Moon will meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The trilateral meetings have taken place every year on a rotating basis since 2008.
Last week, the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers agreed to arrange a summit between their leaders.
The ministers will also arrange Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s state visit to South Korea.
Seoul hopes to have Xi visit before the end of the year.
Bilateral relations, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and other regional and international issues will be agenda items for the meeting between Kang and Wang.
“This visit is expected to strengthen the relationship between Korea and China by strengthening communication between the Korean and Chinese diplomatic authorities for the new development of the Korea-China relations,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Chinese minister has not made an official visit to Seoul since May 2014, as relations between the two countries soured following Seoul’s decision to host the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.
Beijing responded with economic measures against Seoul. It banned group tours to South Korea and ramped up safety inspections on Chinese branches of South Korean retailer Lotte, leading to the company’s withdrawal from China.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org