Chinese president's South Korea trip expected to advance FTA talks
                 English.news.cn | 2014-07-03 14:52:55 | 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) and his wife Peng Liyuan wave 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's visit to South Korea on Thursday and Friday is expected to greatly advance the negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).

With an eye on a comprehensive, balanced and high-level FTA as soon as possible, China and South Korea launched the negotiations in May 2012 and have conducted more than 10 rounds of talks.

The China-South Korea FTA, when finalized, will help the two countries improve mutual complementarity of markets and strengthen the foundation for regional economic integration, said Lee Hee-Ok, professor at the Seoul-based Sungkyunkwan University.

China and South Korea should speed up negotiations on the free trade pact and reach an agreement at an early date, said Zha Daojiong, a professor with the School of International Studies in Peking University.

Both countries should encourage more enterprises to participate in the FTA and further unleash the huge potential in bilateral economic and trade cooperation, Zha said.

Meanwhile, Xi's South Korea trip, his first since he took office last year, will provide an opportunity for the two sides to further deepen economic and trade cooperation by identifying the converging points in their respective long-term economic strategies and exploring new cooperation potential.

Since China and South Korea forged diplomatic relations in 1992, bilateral economic and trade relations have developed in leaps and bounds.

Two-way trade surpassed 270 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, an increase of 7 percent year on year, equalling South Korea's trade volume with the United States and Japan combined.

China is South Korea's No.1 trading partner, largest export destination and import source, and No.1 destination of overseas investment. South Korea is China's third largest trading partner and fifth largest source of foreign direct investment.

Furthermore, the two countries have expanded their economic cooperation to the financial sector. RMB settlement and investment are poised to become new bright spots in the China-South Korea financial cooperation.

South Korean banks have witnessed a large amount of RMB deposits since the second half of last year, with the total volume reaching 11.3 billion dollars at the end of May, up as much as 70 percent compared with the beginning of the year.

South Korea expressed its intent in April to build up RMB offshore trading markets. With the increasing internationalization of the Chinese currency and the deepening of the bilateral financial cooperation, the RMB fervor in South Korea will continue.

The central bank of South Korea has earned the status as a qualified foreign institutional investor, allowing it to invest in stocks and bonds traded on China's financial markets.

The bank earned an expanded quota for its investment in China's stocks markets. It was permitted to invest an additional 300 million dollars in yuan-denominated assets.

China and South Korea have also been exploring ways to strengthen cooperation in new energy and green industry, which will have a positive influence on the long-term, stable and sustainable development of the two countries' economies.

On another level of cooperation, China and South Korea can learn from each other's development experiences.

Some South Korean experts have advised China to draw experiences from their own country in overcoming the middle income trap, which is a major challenge on the road of China's development.

South Korea successfully escaped the middle income trap by carrying out profound market reforms and developing knowledge economy, the experts said.

During his two-day stay, Xi will meet with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa and Prime Minister Chung Hong-won. He will also address economic and trade events.

China and South Korea are also expected to release a joint statement and sign a number of cooperation documents covering economy and trade, finance, environment and consular affairs.

Related:

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

SEOUL, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to South Korea will become an "important milestone" in the development of the two countries' strategic cooperative partnership, Chinese Ambassador Qiu Guohong has said.

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

S.Korea says Xi, Park to discuss peninsula denuclearization, cooperation

SEOUL, July 2 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's senior presidential secretary said on Wednesday that visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun-hye will talk about detailed measures on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during their upcoming summit talks.

Ju Chul-ki, senior foreign affairs and security advisor to Park, told a press briefing that the two leaders will discuss detailed plans to push for the common goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Full story

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.

"China-ROK relations are now at their best in history," said Qu Xing, head of the China Institute of International Studies. Full story

Xi's ROK visit to see new deals

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.

China and the ROK will outline the future of their bilateral ties and exchange views on enhancing mutual trust and cooperation in international and regional affairs, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told a press briefing ahead of Xi's visit on Thursday and Friday. Full story

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