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(3rd LD) Yoon says sure S. Korea-China relations will develop further

Diplomacy 15:39 March 11, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with spokesperson's remarks in last 3 paras)
By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol said Friday he is certain South Korea-China relations will develop further as he met with Beijing's top envoy to Seoul.

Yoon made the remark during a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Xing Haiming two days after his election, noting China is South Korea's largest trading partner and South Korea is China's third-largest.

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol (R) poses for a photo with Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming during their meeting at the headquarters of the main opposition People Power Party in Seoul on March 11, 2022, after receiving a congratulatory letter on Yoon's election as South Korea's next leader from Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

"I'm certain South Korea-China relations will develop further," he said at the People Power Party headquarters, recalling this year marks 30 years since the two countries' establishment of diplomatic ties. "The establishment of diplomatic relations was of great help to our two countries' people in many ways. It also helped economic development."

In a congratulatory message read by Xing, Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned the importance of the anniversary and called South Korea a "close neighbor and important cooperation partner."

"Together with the South Korean side, the Chinese side is willing to firmly defend the original intentions of our establishment of diplomatic ties and deepen our friendly cooperation to promote the stable and long-term development of the China-South Korea strategic cooperative partnership relationship and bring welfare to the two nations and our peoples," Xi said.

The ambassador added he has served as a diplomat four times in South Korea and twice in North Korea, making him "inseparable" from the South.

"I am willing to work with good intentions," he said.

Yoon was elected on a platform of deepening South Korea's alliance with the United States and "retooling" ties with China.

During the presidential campaign, he said "most South Koreans, especially young people, do not like China" despite the outgoing Moon Jae-in administration's pro-China policies.

"Chinese people don't like our people very much, either," he said at the time.

At a press briefing later Friday, Yoon's spokesperson, Kim Eun-hye, said the president-elect discussed the important role the two countries' leaders play in developing the bilateral relationship at his meeting with Xing.

"(Yoon) said our people look forward to China's responsible role being fulfilled," she said.

The president-elect also proposed holding more frequent high-level meetings between the two countries.


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