Park sees blueprint for ties

Updated: 2013-06-27 06:46

By Li Xiaokun, Wu Jiao and Jiao Xiaoli (China Daily)

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Park sees blueprint for ties

State visit by ROK president will put Peninsula on top of agenda

Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye said on Wednesday that Seoul and Beijing will outline a blueprint for common prosperity.

Park made the remarks in an exclusive interview with China Daily on the eve of her four-day state visit, which begins on Thursday.

Her meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will also put Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia regional affairs on top of the agenda.

This is her first visit to China since taking office and her second overseas trip, following a visit to the United States last month.

"I will work with President Xi Jinping during my visit to outline a new blueprint for the common prosperity of (South) Korea and China looking to the next two decades," Park said.

"We will have in-depth discussions about how to give concrete substance to the (South) Korea-China strategic cooperative partnership, how to work together for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia, and how to promote bilateral cooperation on the international stage."

Park, who is familiar with Chinese culture and speaks fluent Mandarin, said she is "filled with special emotion" about the visit in her capacity as president, though she has visited China on several occasions.

Park will meet other Chinese leaders and address business leaders of both countries. She will also speak at Tsinghua University before she visits the ancient city of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province.

She is being accompanied by a sizable business delegation of 71 entrepreneurs. Park took 51 entrepreneurs to the United States last month, while former ROK president Lee Myung-bak brought a 36-strong business delegation to China when he visited five years ago.

Beijing's ties with Seoul got a late start in 1992 when diplomatic ties were established, but relations have surged rapidly.

China is now the ROK's biggest trading partner and investment destination.

According to the Chinese embassy in Seoul, two-way trade reached a high of $256.3 billion in 2012, which also saw about 7.2 million visits between the neighbors.

"Over the past 20 years, (South) Korea-China relations have made remarkable progress. Now is the time for our two countries to elevate the bilateral relationship to a new height," Park said.

Referring to bilateral FTA talks, she said she "believed it is high time for our two countries to seek a new framework of economic cooperation commensurate with our economic status in the international community".

"If a free trade agreement is concluded, it would make it possible for our two countries to enter one another's domestic market and would make a great contribution to the stable expansion of bilateral trade."

Beijing and Seoul started FTA negotiations last year. They are expected to discuss the free trade pact during Park's visit.

Park added that though Seoul and Beijing are "very closely related economically and culturally", some have made note of the fact that "the level of bilateral cooperation in politics and security lags relatively behind that in the economy and culture".

"If we continue to further promote cooperation in the fields of the economy and society while deepening the extent of mutual cooperation in politics and security at the same time, our two countries will be able to carve out a new future for Northeast Asia," she said.

Referring to another top priority of her talks with Xi - the Korean Peninsula situation - Park said she anticipated the meeting to be "a time for reaching consensus on the trust-building process" on the peninsula.

She has pushed forward the "Korean Peninsula trust-building process" since taking office, aimed at containing Pyongyang's nuclear development, pushing its cooperation with Seoul and gradually building trust between the two.

"It is urgent that the North give up its nuclear program and that credible dialogue take place."

Despite the current adverse conditions, Park said she has "a dream of ushering in a new era on the Korean Peninsula by building a regime of sustainable peace on it".

She said the door for dialogue between Seoul and Pyongyang remains open, though the ROK will still give "stern" responses to Pyongyang's "provocations".

If Pyongyang responds positively to requests from the international community, "Seoul will redouble its efforts to provide assistance and accomplish common prosperity in both nations", she said.

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Zhang Yunbi contributed to this story.

(China Daily USA 06/27/2013 page1)