Posted November. 17, 2005 07:58,
Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Chinese Prime Minister Hu Jintao agreed on Wednesday to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in the areas of economy and trade, in a bid to realize the goal of the $200 billion trade volume by 2012, when the two nations will celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
In this regard, Korea decided to grant China Market Economy Status (MES), making Korea the first country to give China an MES among Chinas trading partners with a trade volume of more than $100 billion.
The two leaders adopted a seven-point joint statement containing a clause regarding MES at the summit talks held in Cheong Wa Dae later that day.
Giving a country an MES is to acknowledge that the prices of its products are decided not by its government but by the market. With this status, Chinese exports to Korea will experience a boost as they will enjoy tariff benefits in a potential trade dispute.
The two leaders shared the view that the joint statement adopted on September 19 at the end of the fourth round of the six-party talks, which was aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear dispute, laid the groundwork for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Hu also shared with Roh what he had discussed with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il during his visit to the hermit kingdom from October 29 to October 30. Roh said in a press conference after the summit, Kim reported that at the fourth round of the six-party talks, we had constructive discussion, but its not easy to achieve the intended result. Consistent efforts should be made to make a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.
The two leaders designated the year 2007 as the year of the Korea-China exchanges in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of their diplomatic ties. They also agreed to establish a Korean embassy in Xian, China next year and to take the two countries comprehensive cooperative partnership to another level.
Meanwhile, Roh had other summit talks with Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, who is in his state visit to Korea, at Cheong Wa Dae earlier that day. They agreed to expand areas of substantive cooperation into the Information Technology (IT) and Biotechnology (BT) fields.
Roh is scheduled to meet with George W. Bush, the U.S. president, at Gyeongju, Gyeongbuk on November 17. The two leaders are expected to reach consensus on making the senior strategic talks attended by foreign ministers permanent. Bush arrived at Gimhae Airport on Wednesday.
Ban Ki-moon, the minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State, discussed the agenda of the summit talks Wednesday at BEXCO in Busan. At the meeting, Ban stressed the importance of offering North Korean aid for its economic development and reform, rather than one-time aid, which was not well received by Rice.
In the meantime, on the fifth day into the APEC economic leaders meeting, foreign ministers from 21 countries adopted a joint statement, calling for joint efforts to facilitate free trade and investment, to also to fight avian influenza (AI), terror and corruption, following the two-day APEC ministerial meeting.