By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik, Editors Kim Hyung-dae, Kevin Lee
President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China invited President Yoon Suk-yeol of the Republic of Korea to visit China at a mutually convenient time. This was disclosed on May 10, 2022 when Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan extended the invitation during a meeting with President Yoon after attending Yoon's inauguration ceremony earlier in the day.
Vice President Wang said, “President Xi Jinping welcomes and invites the President to visit China at a mutually convenient time."
"President Xi Jinping told me specially to attend President Yoon's inauguration ceremony on his behalf and to wish that “your country develop, be peaceful and your people be comfortable under your leadership."
President Yoon welcomed the Chinese delegation's visit to Seoul to attend his inauguration and expressed his thanks for President Xi's letter and phone call following his election victory.
Wang handed Yoon another letter from Xi and noted that the two leaders spoke by phone again on May 10.
Vice President Wang, known as one of Xi's closest aides, is the highest-ranking Chinese official ever to attend a South Korean President’s inauguration ceremony.
Vice President Wang said, “China intends to work together with South Korea to advance their strategic cooperative partnership and made five proposals for developing bilateral ties.”
“The first,” he said, “is to strengthen strategic communication and maintain smooth communication, followed by deepening practical cooperation in industrial supply chains and trade, and promoting friendship between their peoples.”
The other proposals are to increase multilateral coordination and "to strengthen cooperation with us on Korean Peninsula issues while appropriately handling sensitive issues," he added.
"China sincerely supports efforts by South and North Korea to improve their relations and seek reconciliation and cooperation, and aims to strengthen communication to pursue denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula," Wang said.
Korea and China are both brother countries for a long, long time. The two peoples share brotherly feelings and affection with each other apart from politico-ideological differences they may have.
With the open-minded President Yoon Suk-yeol in place today, expectations rising high on both sides over the prospect of resumption and expansion of relations, cooperation and friendship between the two ‘brother’ countries.
Diplomatic relations between Korea and China were formally established in the 1980s.
In recent years, Korea and China have endeavored to boost their strategic and cooperative partnership in numerous sectors, as well as promoting a high -level relationship.
According to Wikipedia, trade, tourism and multiculturalism, specifically, have been the most important factors of strengthening two neighboring countries’ cooperative partnership.
Both nations have been bound together by a shared history, including an overlap in cuisine, religion, a common language script and legal systems, and kinship ties that reach back thousands of years, especially during the Song and Ming Dynasty, where China shared a close trade and diplomatic relationship with Goryeo and the Joseon Dynasty, respectively. The Ming and Joseon emerged after the invasion of the Mongols and shared close Confucian ideals in its society.
Furthermore, the Ming had assisted Joseon during Japan’s Toyotomi Hideyoshi invasion of Korea, in which the Wanli Emperor sent a total of 221,500 troops. Joseon had also used Classical Chinese as a common script alongside Korean, and its central government was modelled after the Chinese system.
Contemporary relations between Korea and China are characterized by extensive trading and economic relations.
China is by far Korea's largest trading partner, with China importing goods worth US$160 billion from Korea in 2018, which comprised 26% of Korea's total exports. Some 21% of Korea's imports also came from China, worth US$107 billion in 2018.
In 2015, Korea and China signed the bilateral Free Trade Agreement which aimed to boost annual bilateral trade to over US$300 billion, while lifting both countries' GDP.
In November 2020, the two countries, along with 13 other Asia-Pacific nations, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the largest free-trade agreement in history which covers 30% of the world's population and economic output.
Korea, China and Japan are also engaged in long-running negotiations for a trilateral free-trade agreement which would further integrate their economies.
Relations deteriorated considerably after Korea announced its intentions to deploy THAAD. China imposed an unofficial boycott on Korea in an attempt to stop them from deploying the missile system. However, at the end of October 2017, the two countries ended the 1-year-long diplomatic dispute and have been working swiftly to get their relationship back on track since, strengthening exchanges and cooperation between each other, creating harmony of interests, and agreed to resume exchanges and cooperation in all areas.
All economic and cultural bans from China towards South Korea were also lifted as a result, with political and security cooperation, businesses and cultural exchanges between the two countries getting back to healthy state. Upon the relationship's resumption, Korea and China have been organizing presidential and governmental visits, working together on the Korean Peninsula, assisting with the development of other countries, and cooperating in numerous areas.
On March 25, 2022, the then President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol of the Republic of Korea and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China spoke on the phone exchanging pleasantries with each other.
President Xi pointed out that China and Korea are and will remain each other’s close neighbors, and the two countries are inseparable partners of cooperation.
President Xi pointed out that China always attaches high importance to its relations with Korea and, with the joint efforts of both sides, he said, the bilateral relations have grown rapidly in all areas and the two countries have become strategic cooperative partners.
Among many people in Korea, the Chinese people are their brothers and sisters. The political systems may differ from each other so may be the ideological aspects between the two countries.
However, in the depths of the hearts of the peoples of the two countries, traditional friendship and affinity continue to live and grow with the passage of time.
Hanja, the Chinese characters, are still understood by many people in Korea, especially the established generation and the senior citizens and this is also true in Japan and a number of other countries in Asia.
Yes, Korea and China are very special countries to each other.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992, China has become Korea’s closest neighbor not only geographically, but also in almost every field, including economic exchanges and people-to-people exchanges. China has become Korea's largest trading partner, and the number of foreigners who visited Korea in 2019 is 35% Chinese.
On the basis of such a rapid development of bilateral relations, Korea endeavors her efforts to further strengthen their bilateral ties in the following five areas to make Korea-China relations more substantial and mature in the future:
First, Korea wants to strengthen mutual trust by promoting active communication and exchanges between the two countries' high-level officials. Koreans believe that trust built through communication between the leaders of the two countries will become the driving force for the development of Korea-China relations.
Korea and China are closely communicating and cooperating in the midst of the COVID-19 situation. Based on this, efforts are being made by both sides to develop the Korea-China relations to a higher level than now.
Second, Korea will strengthen substantive cooperation with China in all areas such as economy and trade, environmental issues such as fine dust, and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
Through this, Korea-China cooperation will be strengthened more densely, while efforts will be made so that the people of both countries can directly experience the results of substantive cooperation.
Third, Korea will continue strategic communication with China for a peaceful resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue. During the ROK-China summit in December 2017, the two leaders agreed on four principles: “No war on the Korean Peninsula, achievement of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, peaceful resolution through dialogue and negotiation, and promotion and support of inter-Korean relations.”
Based on this shared understanding between the two leaders, Korea will continue making efforts to contribute to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of lasting peace through closer communication and cooperation with China.
Fourth, Korea will support the peoples of Korea and China to bring the distance of heart closer to each other and build friendship with each other.
In particular, Korea will actively seek and promote opportunities for young people from both countries, who are the leaders of the future, to communicate with each other and build friendship. It is believed that mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of our two countries will become a strong support for the future development of Korea-China relations.
Lastly, Korea will try to listen to the voices of the people in the field and reflect them in the consular service of the embassy.
Heads of government of Korea and China speak with each other
Not very long ago (March 25, 2022), President Yoon Suk-yeol of the Republic of Korea and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China spoke on the phone exchanging pleasantries with each other.
Here are excerpts from the news reports of the Chinese media:
President Xi pointed out that China and the ROK are and will remain each other’s close neighbors, and the two countries are inseparable partners of cooperation.
China always attaches high importance to its relations with the ROK. With the joint efforts of both sides, China-ROK relations have grown rapidly in all areas and the two countries have become strategic cooperative partners. It has been proven that the development of China-ROK relations is in the fundamental interest of the two countries and peoples, and has contributed to peace and development in the region.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The two sides need to take this as an opportunity to further uphold mutual respect, strengthen political trust, and enhance people-to-people friendship, with a view to the steady and sustained growth of bilateral ties.
President Xi stressed that given the many challenges facing the international community, China and the ROK have a responsibility to maintain regional peace and promote global prosperity.
He expressed China’s readiness to work with the ROK to strengthen international and regional cooperation, make positive efforts to keep global industrial and supply chains stable and smooth, uphold the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, and promote the building of a fairer and more equitable global governance system.
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol congratulated China on the successful Two Sessions and on the important achievements of national development made under the leadership of President Xi.
He noted that friendly exchanges between the ROK and China go back a long time, and that the past 30 years of diplomatic relations have witnessed great achievements in wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries and tangible benefits to the two peoples.
Closer cooperation between the ROK and China will serve their respective development and benefit their peoples, and also contribute to peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
He expressed the ROK’s readiness to step up high-level exchanges with China, enhance mutual trust and promote people-to-people friendship, in order to take ROK-China relations to a new height.