ROK's Park meets with special Chinese envoy

Updated: 2013-01-10 21:34


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SEOUL - The Republic of Korea's president-elect Park Geun-hye met Thursday with a special Chinese envoy, her aides said, the first such meeting since her election win last month.

Chinese vice-foreign minister Zhang Zhijun, who arrived here a day ago for a three-day visit, sat down with Park at her office in Seoul and delivered a letter from Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, according to local reports.

ROK's Park meets with special Chinese envoy

ROK's president-elect Park Geun-hye (R) meets with special envoy of Chinese government Zhang Zhijun, who is Chinese vice-foreign minister, in Seoul, Jan 10, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

In the letter, Xi congratulated Park's election and expressed hope for further progress in bilateral relations between the two countries, according to media reports.

Park, who replaces incumbent Lee Myung-bak next month, said she hopes to expand both high-level and civilian exchanges between Seoul and Beijing and further strengthen the friendly ties.

"I am hoping the new governments that will come to power in both countries will substantiate the strategic cooperative partnership, and I will make efforts to that end," Park was quoted as saying.

The president-elect, who met with Chinese president Hu Jintao during her Beijing visit in 2005 and 2007, has repeatedly said she will strive to "upgrade" relations with China, the country's biggest trading partner.

During a separate meeting earlier in the day, Zhang and ROK's foreign minister Kim Sung-hwan agreed to strengthen bilateral exchanges on issues such as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear program, according to the foreign ministry here.

Noting the bilateral relations have been upgraded to the strategic cooperative partnership, Zhang voiced hope Beijing-Seoul ties will further improve under the new leadership in both countries, the ministry said in a statement.

Kim, taking note of the progress made for the past five years, said various events last year that marked the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries provided a momentum for further bilateral exchanges.

The ROK and China established their formal diplomatic relations in 1992.