Chinese president applauds China-South Korea ties

* Xi, Park share concerns over Japan’s constitution reinterpretation

SEOUL: Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Friday that China-South Korea relations, experiencing over two decades of sound development, has brought tangible benefits to each other.
China-South Korea ties have exceeded the boundary of a bilateral relationship and are playing an important role in promoting regional peace, stability and prosperity, Xi said when meeting with South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won. Xi pointed out that economic and trade cooperation is the highlight of China-South Korea relations, providing important driving force for the healthy and stable development of bilateral ties.
Xi made a four-point proposal to push ahead with China-South Korea practical cooperation. He urged to complete the Free Trade Agreement negotiation between the two countries by the end of this year. He called on expanding cooperation in newly emerged strategic industries, such as service industry, new material and new energies. On expanding mutual investment, Xi said that China will continue to optimize investment environment and encourage competitive Chinese enterprises to invest in South Korea and support the two countries’ enterprises to invest in a third country’s market.
On enhancing the coordination of macro-economic policies, Xi urged the two countries to enhance cooperation in tackling transnational financial risks and advancing global economic governance, and commit themselves to realizing Asian revitalization. For his part, Chung said that President Xi’s visit promoted bilateral relations to a new level and left a deep impression on the South Korean people. With a more solid foundation for cooperation, South Korea and China will play greater roles in boosting peace and prosperity in the region and the world at large, he said.
Both countries are pushing for a new round of economic reform, and more converging points are expected to be found to upgrade the bilateral economic and trade cooperation to high-end industry, he said. The South Korean government will, in the light of the consensus reached between the two heads of state, speed up the talks on a bilateral free trade agreement and realize the won-yuan direct trading at an early date, he said. The Chinese president arrived in Seoul on Thursday for a two-day state visit, his first trip to the Asian neighbor since he took office last year. 
Meanwhile, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping shared concerns over Japan’s reinterpretation of its pacifist constitution during their luncheon meeting, the South Korean presidential office said Friday. Ju Chul-ki, senior foreign affairs and security advisor to Park, told a press briefing that Xi and Park held a special luncheon meeting where the two leaders shared worries about Japan’ s continued history-revisionist attitude and its attempt to expand the self-defense right. 
They sympathized with the need for Japan to pursue its defense and security policy in a way that further complies with its pacifist constitution, while shunning politics even the Japanese people do not support, Ju said. The two leaders called attention to the reality where many countries around the world as well as more than half of the Japanese people opposed to the Japanese cabinet’s reinterpretation of its post-war constitution to allow itself to exercise the right to collective self-defense. 
The cabinet, headed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, announced a resolution to reinterpret its 67-year-old constitution on Tuesday, fueling concerns over Japan’s return to its past militarism. Regarding the Kono Statement, the two leaders shared regrets over Japan’s recent review on its 1993 apology for the wartime sex slavery, saying the review was aimed at damaging and disparaging the statement. 

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