President Hu Jintao Meets with ROK President Lee Myung-bak
On March 26, 2012, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with ROK President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul, exchanging in-depth views on bilateral ties and international and regional issues of common concern. The two leaders agreed to take the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and China-ROK Friendly Exchange Year as an opportunity to give fresh impetus to the development of bilateral relations.
Hu said this year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and China-ROK Friendly Exchange Year. Political communication has been smooth and trade and economic cooperation has continuously expanded since the two countries established diplomatic relations 20 years ago, Hu said. Friendly exchanges have been increasing and the two sides have also maintained close communication and coordination in multilateral affairs, he said. He hoped the two sides will work out a development plan for the next stage by summarizing the development process of China-ROK relations. Hu put forward a three-point proposal with a view to bringing their bilateral relationship to a higher level in the new historical period.
First, efforts should be made to strengthen mutual political and strategic trust. The two sides should enhance high-level contacts and communication on bilateral and major regional and international issues of common concern through strategic dialogue and other mechanisms between relevant departments, Hu said. They should also strive to promote mutual understanding, expand common ground, accommodate each other's major concerns and firmly grasp the overall direction of bilateral friendly cooperation, he said.
Second, they should further expand pragmatic cooperation, strengthen coordination on macroeconomic policy issues, maintain a steady and health growth of their economies and the bilateral trade and economic ties, and expedite the efforts toward the goal of building the China-South Korea free trade area. "We are confident of achieving 300 billion U.S. dollars in bilateral trade ahead of schedule, a target originally set for 2015," Hu said. On trade and economic cooperation, China welcomes ROK's efforts to expand investment in China through building industrial clusters, Hu said, adding that China welcomes ROK businesses to increase their investment in such areas as high-end manufacturing, modern services, modern agriculture and emerging industries. China would also continue to encourage its enterprises to expand investments in the ROK, he said.
Third, efforts should be made to further shore up popular support for the development of bilateral relations. The two sides should make full use of the China-South Korea Friendly Exchange Year, Visit Korea Year and the 2012 World Expo in Yeosu, hold activities in various forms, and strengthen media exchanges to enhance mutual understanding and friendly feelings between the two peoples, Hu said.
Lee expressed welcome to Hu for his attendance at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul and thanked the Chinese side for attaching importance to and supporting the summit.
Lee said bilateral ties have been developing rapidly in the past 20 years. Since the establishment of the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership in 2008, Lee added, both sides have kept frequent high-level exchanges with fruitful cooperation in economy and trade and other areas and close people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The ROK has confidence in development of China, and is looking forward to establishing a closer and stronger strategic partnership with China so as to make a greater contribution to achieving common prosperity and promoting peace and development in Northeast Asia and the world at large. Echoing Hu's three-point proposal, Lee said the ROK hopes to enhance strategic dialogue and deepen mutual trust with China. The ROK is ready to initiate free trade talks with China at an early date and create favorable conditions for Chinese enterprises to invest in the ROK to realize the new target of bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The ROK is willing to take the ROK-China Friendly Exchange Year as an opportunity to deepen bilateral non-governmental friendship.
After hearing Lee's views on the Korean Peninsula situation, Hu stressed that recently, there have been some new developments in the situation on the Peninsula, which have drawn the attention of the international community. China has been communicating closely with all related parties including the ROK, he said. "At present, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is very complicated and sensitive. We do not hope to see a reversal of the hard-won momentum of relaxation of tension on the Peninsula," Hu said. China is ready to work with other parties and continue to make active efforts to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, said the Chinese president.
On the same day, President Hu attended the welcome ceremony held by President Lee Myung-bak for participating national leaders.
Ling Jihua, Wang Huning and Dai Bingguo attended the activities.