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Xi hints at plans to visit Korea in meeting with PM Han

Posted September. 25, 2023 08:56,   

Updated September. 25, 2023 08:56


“China will sincerely consider the possibility of visiting South Korea,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping (photo), who met with South Korean Prime Minister Han Deok-soo on Saturday. Prime Minister Han, who is currently visiting China to attend the opening ceremony of the Hangzhou Asian Games, met with President Xi. This remark suggests that President Xi's visit to South Korea could take place as early as the first half of next year.

“Bilateral discussions on the subject are likely to accelerate, given that it was directly mentioned by President Xi,” a high-ranking South Korean government official said in a telephone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo on Sunday. “Honoring mutual trust, our foremost principle on diplomacy, we will not take action of any kind that urges China to do so."

Regarding President Xi’s mention of visiting South Korea in a news briefing on Sunday, the government official stressed that Xi is aware that it is China’s turn to visit. Former President Moon Jae-in made two state visits to China during his term, but Xi did not make a return visit. President Xi’s most recent visit was in July 2014 during former President Park Geun-hye’s term.

President Xi commented on the South Korea-China-Japan trilateral summit, which South Korea is working to host within the year, saying, “The timely hosting is welcomed.” China used to send its prime minister to trilateral meetings. Some say that the positive remark may hint at President Xi’s intention to visit South Korea after the trilateral meeting.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com