UPDATE : 2017.12.15 FRI 12:24
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Ruling party chief departs for China for talks on N.K. threats, bilateral ties

Choo Mi-ae, the leader of South Korea's ruling Democratic Party, embarked on a four-day trip to Beijing on Thursday to attend an international political conference and for talks with top Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping.

Speaking to the press before her departure, Choo said that she would use her trip to underscore the need for stringent sanctions against North Korea that tested yet another long-range ballistic missile Wednesday in a breach of U.N. resolutions.

"I will discuss with the Chinese authorities the direction of bilateral cooperation regarding the new level of North Korean provocations and help the coordination vis-a-vis the upcoming summit between the leaders of the two countries," Choo said.

Choo Mi-ae, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party, speaks during a press conference at Gimpo International Airport before departing for China on Nov. 30, 2017. (Yonhap)

Choo added that China is "at the core of international cooperation" in enforcing anti-Pyongyang sanctions.

Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have been heaping pressure on Beijing to do more to address the nuclear standoff. They believe China has the strongest economic and diplomatic leverage over its unruly ally, while Beijing believes its influence is only limited.

The ruling party chief also said that she would strive to set the mood for the swift restoration of Seoul-Beijing ties, which have been strained over the installation of a U.S. missile defense battery that China argues could undermine its security interests.

During her stay in China, Choo will attend the conference, titled the "Communist Party of China in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting."

The political conference is to be held under the main theme "Working Together Towards A Community with A Shared Future for Humanity and A Better World: Responsibilities of Political Parties." It is to be attended by the leaders of nearly 260 political parties and organizations from across the globe.

On the sidelines of the conference, Choo is set to meet Chinese leader Xi for talks Friday, her aide said. On Sunday, she will deliver a keynote speech at the forum.

"I am thinking of stressing the need for exchanges and cooperation among political parties over air pollution and other ecological issues (during the keynote speech)," Choo said.

Earlier this month, Choo visited the United States as part of her diplomatic efforts to strengthen the bilateral alliance and help address pending issues, such as trade and evolving North Korean threats.

Choo also plans to visit Russia next month and Japan early next year.

Kim Jung-mi  edt@koreapost.com

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