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(LEAD) Xi expresses hope for early visit to S. Korea in phone talks with Moon: Cheong Wa Dae

All News 23:19 January 26, 2021

(ATTN: CHANGES headline; UPDATES with additional briefing)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap)-- Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed hope for an "early visit" to South Korea, as soon as conditions are created, during his phone talks with President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday night, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Moon told Xi that he expects the two countries to continue communication for the Chinese leader's trip here once the COVID-19 situation is stabilized.

Xi responded positively, saying he is looking forward to traveling to South Korea and meeting with Moon at an early date as soon as conditions allow, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

On regional security, Moon requested that China play a constructive role in resolving pending issues via dialogue.

Xi said China supports North Korea-U.S. negotiations and inter-Korean talks, Kang said.

President Moon Jae-in (L) in a photo provided by Cheong Wa Dae, and President Xi Jinping in a file photo (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

President Moon Jae-in (L) in a photo provided by Cheong Wa Dae, and President Xi Jinping in a file photo (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Xi was quoted as adding that Beijing makes much of Seoul's role for a "political resolution" to the North Korea issue, while describing the Korean Peninsula situation as "stable in general."

He cited North Korea's statement, issued at the latest congress of the Workers' Party, which he regarded as indicating that it has not closed the door for dialogue with the U.S. and South Korea.

Xi's message came days after the launch of the Joe Biden administration. Moon is expected to have a phone call with the new U.S. president in the near future.

Moon and Xi, meanwhile, declared 2022 as the South Korea-China year of cultural exchange during their first phone conversation in around eight months.

The two noted that the neighboring countries will commemorate the 30th anniversary next year of the establishment of their diplomatic ties.

And they agreed to come up with a blueprint for the bilateral relationship over the coming three decades via an envisioned joint committee of experts.

The leaders pointed out that Seoul and Beijing have maintained close cooperation in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and agreed to boost people-to-people and economic exchanges in tandem with the strengthening of partnerships in the antivirus fight.

In advance of the phone call, Xi sent a congratulatory letter to Moon for his Jan. 24 birthday. Moon replied to it, expressing hope for joint efforts for the development of South Korea-China relations and peace on the peninsula.

Xi was supposed to make an official visit to South Korea in 2020, but it has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.


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