South Korean President Moon Jae-in left for China Wednesday for a four-day state visit that will include talks with President Xi Jinping.
The two leaders plan to hold their third bilateral summit on Thursday focusing on North Korea's growing threats and ways to improve bilateral ties, according to South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
Moon and Xi earlier met on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Germany in July and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Danang, Vietnam last month.
The South Korean leader will begin his trip Wednesday with a meeting with South Korean residents, followed by a joint business forum involving top business executives from both countries. Moon will also deliver a special speech at the business forum, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Top executives from dozens of leading South Korean firms are accompanying the president on his first trip to China. The firms include Samsung, Hyundai Motor, LG, SK and Hanwha groups.
The Moon-Xi meeting on Thursday follows the North's latest missile test, staged Nov. 29, which marked a resumption of its military provocations after a 75-day hiatus. Pyongyang has conducted 11 missile tests since Moon took office in May.
"The two leaders are scheduled to hold in-depth discussions on ways to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula," Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director of the presidential National Security Office, told reporters earlier.
While in Beijing, the South Korean leader will also meet Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Zhang Dejiang, the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Moon is scheduled to deliver a special speech at Beijing's Peking University before heading to the southwestern city of Chongqing on Friday, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
In Chongqing, Moon will visit the former office of his country's provisional government in exile, which operated in China during Japan's colonial rule of Korea from 1910-45.
He will also visit a local plant of Hyundai Motor Co. in Chongqing before returning home Saturday. (Yonhap)
Lee Sam-sun firstname.lastname@example.org
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