Chinese president arrives for state visit to South Korea
                 English.news.cn | 2014-07-03 14:21:26 | Editor: Yang Yi

 Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Seoul Thursday for a two-day state visit to South Korea.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L, front) and his wife Peng Liyuan (R, front) inspect an honor guard upon their arrival in Seoul, capital of South Korea, July 3, 2014. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Seoul Thursday for a two-day state visit to South Korea. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)

SEOUL, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Thursday for a two-day state visit to South Korea, his first trip to the Asian neighbor since he took office last year.

Upon arrival, Xi said China and South Korea have made tremendous achievements in bilateral cooperation in various fields since the establishment of diplomatic relations 22 years ago, forging a genuine community of shared interests and becoming a paradigm of state-to-state relations for other countries.

Noting that China-South Korea relations stand now at a fresh starting point and are faced with opportunities of huge development, Xi said to inject fresh impetus into the bilateral ties is a common subject for both countries and also a major task of his trip.

He stressed that China and South Korea should stick to good-neighborly friendship, enhance mutual trust, adhere to mutually beneficial cooperation and consolidate convergence of interests.

He also called on the two countries to hold fast to peace and stability, maintain people-to-people exchanges and build a bridge of friendship.

Xi said he will have thorough exchange of views with his South Korean counterpart, Park Geun-hye on issues of common concern, adding he is confident that the two sides will reach new consensus and add impetus to bilateral ties.

The Chinese president, during his two-day stay, is scheduled to meet with Park as well as National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa and Prime Minister Chung Hong-won.

He will also deliver a speech at Seoul National University and attend economic and trade events.

The two countries are expected to issue a joint statement on bilateral relations and regional issues during Xi's visit. They will also sign a batch of deals on cooperation in economy, trade, finance, environment and consular affairs.

Xi and South Korean leaders will review the achievements in relations between the two countries and chart the course of bilateral ties, in a bid to further enrich their strategic cooperative partnership, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters ahead of the visit.

China and South Korea have witnessed rapid development in their relationship since the two countries forged diplomatic ties 22 years ago.

China has become South Korea's largest trading partner, largest market of exports, largest source of imports and largest destination of overseas investment, while South Korea was China's third-largest trading partner and fifth-largest source of foreign investment in 2013.

In addition, China and South Korea are each other's largest tourist destination country and largest source of overseas students.

China's two-way trade with South Korea totaled 274.25 billion U.S. dollars last year, indicating an annual increase of seven percent, statistics with China's General Administration of Customs showed. The figure amounts to South Korea's trade volume with the United States and Japan combined.

The two countries launched negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in May 2012. To date, 11 rounds of talks have been held.

The July 3-4 trip is Xi's first visit to South Korea as president but will be his fifth summit meeting with Park.

Park paid a state visit to China from June 27 to 30 last year, shortly after taking office.

The two heads of state also met each other ahead of the 21st informal economic leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation last October in Indonesia's resort island of Bali and on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in March.

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Interview: Xi's visit to strengthen strategic cooperative partnership with S. Korea -- ambassador

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At the invitation of his South Korean counterpart, Park Geun-hye, Xi kicks off a two-day state visit to the country Thursday. The visit will be Xi's first to South Korea since he took office last year. Full story

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Xinhua Insight: China-ROK relations their "best in history"

BEIJING, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) from July 3 to 4. It is believed the visit will inject new vigor to bilateral ties.

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BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) will release a joint paper and sign cooperative documents covering the economy and trade, finance, the environment and consular affairs during President Xi Jinping's state visit to Seoul, a senior diplomat said on Tuesday.

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