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Outcome of Korea-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (May 13)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yul visited China and had a meeting with Wang Yi, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the afternoon of Monday, May 13. It was the first meeting between the two ministers since Minister Cho took office. During the meeting and the ensuing dinner, the two sides held in-depth discussions on issues of mutual interest including overall Korea-China relations such as high-level exchanges and economic cooperation, North Korea and the North Korean nuclear issues, and regional and global affairs.

The two sides reaffirmed the importance they attach to the Korea-China relationship and their shared commitment to continuing its sound and mature development, following the telephone conversation (February 6) that took place after Minister Cho assumed office.

Minister Cho emphasized that in order to usher in a new phase of Korea-China cooperation, the two countries should devote more efforts to solidify the basis for sustainable development by fostering mutual trust rather than solely focusing on the speed and volume of the development of the bilateral relationship. Minister Cho stated that the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries should continue to be developed based on mutual respect, reciprocity and shared interests.

In addition, Minister Cho stated that, for the development of the bilateral relationship, it is important that both sides, not just one side, put in their collective efforts. Minister Cho also stressed that the two countries should build on the cooperative momentum while carefully managing the challenges that might stand in the way.

To this end, Minister Cho emphasized the importance of strengthening strategic exchanges and communication at various levels including high levels, and invited Minister Wang to visit Korea. Minister Wang expressed his desire to see Minister Cho’s visit to China lead to further revitalized high-level exchanges between the two countries, and responded that he will visit Korea at a mutually convenient time.

The two sides shared the view that there remains a considerable scope for broadening bilateral economic cooperation, which has been a significant driving force for both countries’ development over the past 30 years. The two sides agreed to closely communicate with each other in order to sustain and strengthen economic cooperation, such as the stable management of supply chains. Furthermore, Minister Cho called on China to accord special attention and support for ensuring a conducive environment for the stability of investments by Korean companies in China and for resolving their difficulties.

Both ministers acknowledged the necessity of improving mutual perceptions and promoting positive sentiments between the peoples of Korea and China, and committed to promote various exchanges between the two countries. In this vein, the two sides agreed to invigorate exchanges between local governments and to resume various exchange and cooperation projects led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the two countries such as the Korea-China Committee for the Promotion of People-to-People Exchanges. Minister Cho emphasized that ensuring unfettered access to cultural content will help bridge the emotional gap between the youths of the two countries.

Minister Cho expressed concern that North Korea has been raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the region through bellicose rhetoric and various provocations, rejecting unification and defining inter-Korean relations as adversarial, and continuing illicit military cooperation with Russia. Minister Cho called on China to strengthen its constructive role as a permanent member of the UN Security Council for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the denuclearization of North Korea. Furthermore, Minister Cho communicated domestic and international concerns about the forcible repatriation of North Korean defectors, and requested China’s special attention and cooperation to ensure that North Korean defectors are not repatriated against their will and instead transferred to their desired destinations. In response, Minister Wang stated that China’s policy regarding the Korean Peninsula remains unchanged, and that China will play a constructive role in resolving Korean Peninsula issues.

The two ministers agreed to continue their cooperation for the success of the 9th Korea-Japan-China Summit to be held soon in Korea.

The two sides also discussed regional and global affairs including the situations in Ukraine and the Middle East and the U.S.-China relationship.

At the Korea-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, held shortly before the upcoming 9th Korea-Japan-China Trilateral Summit, the two ministers engaged in close consultations for approximately 4 hours, not only about ways to improve the bilateral relationship amidst a tense geopolitical landscape but also about Korean Peninsula issues and regional and global affairs. The meeting created a new momentum for the development of the Korea-China relationship.