Experts point way to ‘ build a better dream’ as Xi set to visit ROK
The “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation and the Republic of Korea’s “new era of hope and happiness” can dovetail to the benefit of both countries and the region, senior diplomats and analysts said as President Xi Jinping prepares to visit Seoul.
Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao outlined the benefits of further cooperation when he read a congratulatory letter from Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the Second China-ROK Public Diplomacy Forum in Beijing on Thursday.
The forum, with the theme “Building a Better Dream”, attracted about 240 government, think tank and business representatives from both countries.
“Beijing has been pursuing the ‘Chinese Dream’ to revitalize the country, while Seoul is carving out the ‘second miracle on the Han River’ and building ‘an era of happiness’, ” Wang said, adding that people from the two countries should walk side by side toward these converging goals.
ROK President Park Geunhye visited Beijing a year ago, shortly after taking office, when the two countries signed a series of agreements in areas including trade, finance and marine science.
Observers said the leaders’ meeting in Seoul will be of crucial importance against the backdrop of rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in Southeast Asia.
Zhang Liangui, a researcher of Korean studies at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said, “Issues such as economic cooperation, denuclearization of the peninsula and joint efforts to curb the Japanese right-wing political trend on history will be discussed.”
Huang Youfu, a professor of Korean studies at Minzu University of China in Beijing, said, “The time is ripe for the two countries to lay down a free trade agreement.”
China and the ROK officially began negotiations on a bilateral free trade area in 2012.
China is the ROK’s largest trading partner, largest market for exports and largest source of imports and investment, while the ROK is China’s third-largest trading partner. Bilateral trade was worth $250 billion in 2012.
On Wednesday, Wang met Hwang Joon-kook, Seoul’s chief negotiator to the Six-Party Talks.
The talks are aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to security concerns as a result of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Wang said, “China and the ROK should strengthen cooperation to safeguard peninsula peace and stability, realize denuclearization and resume the SixParty Talks at an early date.”
Xinhua contributed to this story.