Spotlight: Enriched China-S. Korea ties to benefit both sides, region and world
                 English.news.cn | 2014-07-04 03:24:15 | Editor: Mu Xuequan

SEOUL, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye agreed here Thursday to enrich the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership, which would be a boon to both sides, the region and the world at large.

During summit talks with Park, Xi said China-South Korea relations are facing an opportunity of great development, and the two sides should share development opportunities, jointly meet the challenges and deepen cooperation in a comprehensive manner.

FOUR PROPOSALS TO ENHANCE BILATERAL TIES

During the talks, Xi made a four-point proposal to enhance bilateral ties.

Regarding political security cooperation, Xi said he is willing to maintain frequent communication with Park and exchange views on major issues of common concern at any time.

The two sides should strengthen communication and enhance mutual trust through governmental, parliamentary and party-to-party communication and cooperation mechanism, Xi said.

As for economy and trade cooperation, Xi said the two sides should further expand mutual beneficial cooperation in this field.

To raise the bilateral trade volume to 300 billion U.S. Dollars by 2015, the two countries should nurture new cooperation growth points in fields such as new energy, telecommunications, intelligent manufacturing, among others, said Xi.

China is willing to set up an RMB clearance service in South Korea and hopes the two sides could speed up negotiations so as to complete their free trade talks before the end of this year.

China, Xi said, welcome South Korean enterprises to intensify investment in central and western China.

As to people-to-people exchanges, Xi said both countries will celebrate the Year of Chinese Tourism in South Korea in 2015 and the Year of South Korean Tourism in China in 2016.

To elevate bilateral personnel exchanges to 10 million in 2016, Xi suggested the two sides waive visa for service passport holders and offer visa waivers for short-time travelers between the two sides..

Regarding to regional and international cooperation, Xi said China stands ready to strengthen cooperation with South Korea in establishing an Asian infrastructure investment bank and advancing the plan for creating an Asia-Pacific free trade area.

The two countries, he said, could jointly hold memorial activities next year on the occasions of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Anti-Fascist War, of the victory of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, and of the liberation of the Korean Peninsula from Japan's colonial rule.

The Chinese president 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.

XI: "NO MORE STIRS" ON KOREAN PENINSULA

During talks with Park, Xi also urged all parties concerned to refrain from creating more stirs on the Korean Peninsula as many uncertainties are still existing.

"All parties concerned should jointly and properly manage and control the situation, avoid causing tension, prevent the situation from losing control, and creating no more stirs," he said.

Xi told Park that China upholds an objective and impartial position on the Korean Peninsula issue, and is firmly committed to pushing for a nuclear-free Peninsula, maintaining the peace and stability on the Peninsula, and resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation.

"We hold that the concerns of all sides should be treated in a balanced way, and a synchronized and equivalent method should be sought to bring the nuclear issue on Korean Peninsula into a sustainable, irreversible and effective settlement process," said Xi.

China positively evaluates the proposal of a "Korean Peninsula trust-building process" raised by Park and supports the improvement of relations between the north and the south to realize reconciliation and cooperation and ultimately achieve independent peaceful reunification, Xi said.

Park said South Korea hopes to build south-north mutual trust through the "Korean Peninsula trust-building process," push for reconciliation between the two sides and safeguard peace on the Peninsula.

South Korea spoke highly of China's efforts to promoting peace and talks, and is willing to enhance cooperation with China to achieve the goal of denuclearization on the Peninsula and boosting peace, stability and prosperity in Northeast Asia, she said.

Meanwhile, in a joint statement issued here Thursday, the two countries agreed that denuclearizing and maintaining peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula are in the common interests of all countries involved in the six-party talks.

The two countries called on all relevant parties to solve the major issue through dialogue and negotiation, the statement said.

The statement also urged all relevant parties to unremittingly promote the process of the six-party talks. To achieve that end, all parties should respect one another, strengthen communication and coordination on both bilateral and multilateral levels, and address the concerns of all parties involved, it added.

The six-party talks, involving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, have been suspended since late 2008.

Seoul said in the statement that it wants to build mutual trust with the DPRK through the "Korean Peninsula trust-building process", so as to boost the development of South Korea-DPRK relations and safeguard peace of the peninsula.

China spoke positively of South Korea's efforts to improve relations with the DPRK, according to the statement.

China supports South Korea and the DPRK to improve ties, and carry out reconciliation and cooperation via dialogue. It respects the will of the Korean people to realize peaceful reunification on the Korean Peninsula.

RMB CLEARING SERVICE TO OPEN IN SEOUL

During Xi's visit, China and South Korea signed a deal Thursday to launch a renminbi (RMB) clearing service in Seoul and boost cooperation between their central banks.

The People's Bank of China and the Bank of Korea inked a memorandum of understanding in this regard, which will hopefully facilitate bilateral trade and investment by reducing transaction costs and exchange rate risks.

The move is also considered as another push for the use of RMB by banks and businesses in international transaction.

So far this year, the world's second largest economy has reached agreements with Germany, Britain, France and Luxembourg to open local RMB trading hubs, as the Chinese currency has been increasingly used in global trade and investment. ' Also on Thursday, China and South Korea agreed to establish direct trading mechanism between the RMB and won, the South Korean currency, according to the joint statement signed by the two countries.

The move would eliminate the need to exchange either currency into U.S. dollars when settling accounts, and is believed to be able to save transaction fees and hedge against foreign exchange volatility.

In addition, China will grant 80 billion RMB yuan (13 billion U.S. dollars) quota of investment to South Korea under the RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (RQFII) program, the statement said.

Launched in 2011, the RQFII program allows foreign investors to invest in Chinese onshore stock and bond markets with offshore RMB.

The Chinese currency rose to be the seventh most used payment currency globally earlier this year. RMB payments grew by 29 percent month-on-month in March with a market share of 1.62 percent, up from 1.42 percent in February, according to global transaction service firm SWIFT.

The People's Bank of China is yet to announce the nomination of a clearing bank to handle RMB business in Seoul.

China is 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.

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 show. The figure equates to South Korea's trade volume with the United States and Japan combined.

The RMB deposits in the banking sector of South Korea reached a record 70 billion RMB yuan (11.33 billion dollars) at the end of May, second only to U.S. dollar in its foreign currency deposits, according to the Bank of Korea.

The Chinese president 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.

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