(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with expected agenda, other details)
SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin will visit China next week for talks with his counterpart Wang Yi, Park's ministry announced Friday.
Park plans to leave for the eastern port city of Qingdao on Monday in his first trip to China as Seoul's top diplomat. He is reportedly scheduled to hold talks with Wang on Tuesday. The two sides opted to meet there instead of Beijing due to COVID-19 concerns, according to a source.
They plan to discuss "issues of mutual concern including South Korea-China relations as well as regional and global affairs," the ministry said without elaborating.
Pending bilateral issues include Beijing's opposition to Seoul's potential deal with Washington for the deployment of an additional advanced missile defense system, called THAAD, on the peninsula.
Seoul is also under thinly-veiled pressure to join the U.S.-led Chip 4 Alliance for semiconductor cooperation with Japan and Taiwan.
Seoul and Beijing are to commemorate the 30th anniversary on Aug. 24 of the establishment of their diplomatic ties.
Park's China visit comes amid keen attention to the geopolitical policy direction of the conservative Yoon Suk-yeol administration. Yoon's government has stated a commitment to a stronger alliance with the United States and Yoon attended a NATO summit held in Madrid in late June.
But he did not meet with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her visit to Seoul earlier this week, instead holding a 40-minute phone call.
Presidential aides cited Yoon's ongoing summer vacation -- scheduled well ahead of Pelosi's decision to travel here following a diplomatically controversial visit to Taiwan. Many observers, however, said Yoon seems to be trying not to antagonize Beijing.
They said the upcoming talks between Park and Wang may set the tone for overall Seoul-Beijing ties in the coming years.
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