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(2nd LD) Xi expresses support for Korean denuclearization in phone talks with Moon: Cheong Wa Dae

All News 14:41 January 27, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 7-12, 15-16)

SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed his active support for Seoul's initiative to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, calling the efforts in line with the common interests of both countries, according to Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday.

It said Xi delivered the comments during his phone talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday.

During the talks, Moon said he hopes Seoul and Beijing can work together to open a trilateral summit between the two countries along with Japan. Xi replied by saying China will strengthen cooperation with South Korea to open the summit at the earliest date, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

Seoul had planned to host the annual summit, held in turns in the three countries, last year, but was unable to do so apparently due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The two leaders also agreed that bilateral cooperation on coronavirus control turned out to be effective. Xi said he supports Moon's vision of creating a Northeast Asian cooperative body on public health.

Xi also said he was aware of South Korea's plan to begin public coronavirus vaccination next month and expressed hope that Seoul's vaccination program could play a key role in the global fight against the pandemic.

According to Cheong Wa Dae, the Chinese leader also said that Beijing and Seoul would be able to discuss the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a 11-party free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region.

CPTPP is the renegotiated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) led by the U.S. Obama administration but abandoned by the previous Washington administration under President Donald Trump.

The new U.S. administration under President Joe Biden may join the CPTPP, and Washington also may ask Seoul to become a member of the trade deal in a bid to build its own trade and supply chain network.

Moon replied by saying that South Korea is "actively reviewing" joining the agreement with interest.

In response to Moon's invitation of Xi to the second P4G summit on green growth and sustainable development, scheduled to take place in Seoul in May, the Chinese president said he will "seriously consider" participating.

P4G stands for Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030, a public-private initiative to tackle climate change and other sustainable development challenges.

Cheong Wa Dae announced Tuesday after the phone talks that Xi expressed hope for an "early visit" to South Korea, as soon as conditions are created.

Xi was quoted as saying 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."

A senior presidential official told reporters that Cheong Wa Dae will also pursue arranging phone talks between Moon and Biden as soon as possible, explaining that Suh Hoon, Cheong Wa Dae's director of national security, and his U.S. counterpart, Jake Sullivan, have shared the idea of seeking phone talks between the two leaders in the near future.

Moon and Biden previously spoke to each other over the phone after Biden won the presidential election in November.

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)

odissy@yna.co.kr
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