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(LEAD) S. Korea, China hold senior-level talks amid urea supply woes

Diplomacy 19:38 November 30, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with latest details throughout; CHANGES headline; ADDS photo)
By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and China held a virtual senior-level economic meeting Tuesday, during which the two sides discussed supply shortages of urea solution here and other supply chain issues.

Seoul's Second Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-moon and Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Ren Hongbin had the joint economic committee session via video links on pending trade issues, the foreign ministry said.

During the talks, the two sides positively evaluated the bilateral economic cooperation that has been maintained despite the pandemic and agreed to continue talks on the direction for long-term cooperation.

They discussed South Korea's recent supply shortage of urea solution, which is needed in diesel cars to cut emissions, following Beijing's export curbs on urea to ease domestic supply bottlenecks.

Seoul evaluated Beijing's cooperation to help South Korea import urea, while requesting for continued consultations to ensure smooth bilateral trade despite uncertainties in the global supply chain.

It also asked China for efforts to expand bilateral exchange on cultural content, such as video games and films, amid ongoing concerns of Beijing's perceived restrictions on the Korean entertainment and cultural industries, which followed Seoul's 2016 decision to host a U.S. anti-missile system.

Meanwhile, Beijing proposed cooperation in the digital economy and low-carbon economy sectors, according to the ministry.

The ministry added the two sides also agreed to make efforts to link South Korea's New Southern Policy and New Northern Policy, which seek to boost ties with countries in Central and Southeast Asia, with China's One Belt One Road initiative.

The meeting represents an annual economic dialogue between the neighboring countries but drew keen public attention this year, with South Korea under growing pressure from the Joe Biden administration to join a campaign to rebuild global supply chains less dependent on China.

China is South Korea's largest trading partner and supplies many of the raw materials needed in chips, batteries and other key export items.

South Korea's Second Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-moon speaks during a virtual senior-level economic meeting with China on Nov. 30, 2021, in this photo released by Seoul's foreign ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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