(from left) S. Korea`s President Moon Jae-in and China President Xi Jinping
South Korean President Moon Jae-in will make his first state visit to China next week and have a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his four-day stay in the neighboring country, the presidential office said on Wednesday.
According to the Blue House, Moon will visit China between Dec. 13 and 16 for a summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi and attend a state dinner. It is the third bilateral summit for Moon and Xi, but it is Moon’s first state visit to the country since he took office in May.
Moon’s trip to China comes after Seoul and Beijing in October agreed to normalize relations that have frayed since last year due to Korea’s decision to host an U.S. antimissile system on its soil. The Chinese government has strongly opposed the deployment of U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) because it sees THAAD as a security threat. The upcoming Moon-Xi summit, pundits say, is expected to serve as a momentum for the two countries to speed up the process to mend ties.
During the summit, the two leaders are expected to mainly discuss ways to resolve the North Korea nuclear crisis in a peaceful manner, to promote cooperation to establish peace on the Korean peninsula, and to forge economic and cultural ties. The Korean leader will also meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and other state officials during his stay.
Following his visit to Beijing, Moon will head to Chongqing, an industrial hub in southwest China and one of strategic cities promoting China’s One Belt One Road initiative, on Dec. 15, the presidential office said.
According to an unnamed official from the Blue House, Moon has decided to visit Chongqing because it is a historic and monumental city for Koreans with the Korean provisional government building and the headquarters of the Independence Army of Korea that had fiercely fought to free Korea from Japanese rule in the early 20th century. Local companies including Hyundai Motor Co. and SK Hynix Inc. also have production facilities there, the official added.
By Kang Gye-man and Lee Eun-joo
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