China and South Korea should “meet each other halfway” and improve supply chain integration, Chinese President Xi Jinping told South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo.
“China adheres to a good-neighbourly and friendly policy towards South Korea and values South Korea’s positive willingness to commit to China-South Korea cooperation. [We] hope South Korea and China will meet each other halfway, reflect the importance and development of China-South Korea relations in policies and actions, respect each other, and maintain the general direction of friendly cooperation.
“China and South Korea have close economic ties and deep integration in industrial and supply chains. The two countries can deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and continue to achieve mutual success,” he said.
According to Yonhap News Agency, Xi told Han he would “seriously” consider visiting South Korea. The Chinese leader has not been to the country since 2014.
Xi’s meeting with Han came ahead of a high-level trilateral meeting between South Korea, China and Japan in Seoul this week, which is likely to pave the way for the first leader summit in four years by the end of this year, according to South Korean media.
Ties between Beijing and Seoul have become even more complicated in recent months as the US lobbied its allies to join its tech war against China.
In April, Yoon angered Beijing with remarks calling Taiwan a “global issue” comparable to North Korea.
South Korea has long urged Beijing to help curb North Korea’s nuclear threats. In his meeting with Xi, Han asked China to continue to play a constructive role in Korean peninsula affairs, while Xi said China was committed to “peace and stability” on the peninsula, said South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin in a briefing after the meeting.
Yonhap said the two did not discuss recent military cooperation between Russia and North Korea, citing a senior government official.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday that he planned to visit Pyongyang next month – a plan he said was agreed upon by the two leaders during North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Russia earlier this month. During Kim’s trip, the two countries agreed to strengthen defence cooperation.
China has remained largely muted on recent exchanges between Moscow and Pyongyang, saying it was a matter between the two countries. Beijing has refused to respond to reports about Moscow’s invitation to North Korea to take part in a trilateral drill with both Russia and China.
In a response to Xi’s message of congratulations to mark the 75th anniversary of North Korea’s founding earlier this month, Kim reaffirmed his commitment to close cooperation with China, Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency reported on Sunday.