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Premier Wen Jiabao Holds Talks with ROK President Roh Moo-hyun

2007-04-10

On April 10, 2007, visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held talks with President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Roh Moo-hyun at the Presidential Palace at Chong Wa Dae in Seoul. Both sides agreed to take the opportunity of the 15th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the China-ROK Exchange Year to bear in mind the overall interest of bilateral friendly cooperation, strengthen strategic communication and promote mutually beneficial cooperation, to push for new progress of bilateral ties.

Wen said the two countries, as close neighbors, enjoy a time-honored history of friendly exchanges. "Thanks to the joint efforts in recent years, political trust between China and the ROK has been deepened, exchanges and cooperation in all areas have been expanded, and coordination in regional and global affairs has become closer," Wen said. This brings tremendous benefits to the peoples of both countries and makes a significant contribution to peace and development in Northeast Asia, Wen said.

Premier Wen raised a five-point proposal on developing China-ROK relations. First, Wen suggested that the two countries should maintain high-level exchanges. Communication and cooperation between various government departments, legislative bodies and political parties should be enhanced, and the consultation and security dialogue on foreign policy should be continuously carried out, he added. Second, the two countries should deepen economic and trade cooperation, Wen said. Economic and trade cooperation and the dialogue mechanism should be improved, convenient measures on trade investment should be put into effect and an investment-protection agreement should be inked and carried out at an early date, he said. Emphasis should be put on cooperation in environmental protection, energy saving, communications and goods transportation, the Chinese premier said, adding that a win-win program should be launched as early as possible in a bid to establish the basis for building a free trade zone. Third, Wen urged both sides to promote personnel and cultural exchanges. Education cooperation and exchanges between the young generations of the two countries should be expanded, and activities of the China-ROK Exchange Year should be carried out well to make this year an important opportunity for both sides to build up understanding, promote friendship and further cooperation, he added. Fourth, Wen advised the two countries strengthen bilateral coordination and cooperation in regional and global affairs. The role of various cooperation mechanisms among China, ROK and Japan and regional mechanisms between the three countries and ASEAN and APEC should be given full play to push forward the regional cooperation process. Fifth, both countries should properly handle each other's concerns, he said. China speaks highly of the understanding and support provided by the ROK government on the Taiwan question, Wen said, noting that China is ready to properly deal with relevant concerns of the ROK under the spirit of mutual understanding and trust.

Roh echoed Wen's comments and suggestions on bilateral ties, saying that both sides share common goals on developing bilateral ties and it is believed that Wen's current visit will help push bilateral ties to a higher level.

Roh emphasized that his country welcomes, but not worries about, China's development and advance. The improvement in the Chinese people's living standards and the expansion of the Chinese market represent opportunities for ROK. He believed that the two countries could achieve common development and maintain their common interests through high-level cooperation and fair competition.

ROK is expecting the two governments to sign an investment protection treaty at an early date, and would study positively the possibility of establishing a free trade zone between the two nations, as well as clearing the barriers blocking Chinese goods from entering the ROK market, the president said.

Roh said that the ROK side attaches great importance to the activities of ROK-China Exchange Year, hoping that such activities would help further expand bilateral exchanges in every field. The ROK would also continue cooperation with China on international and regional affairs, he added.

Both leaders also exchanged views on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. China sticks to its goal of denulearization of the Korean Peninsula, as well as its position on a peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue, reiterated Premier Wen. Continued progress will be achieved in promoting the process of the six-party talks as long as all relevant parties bear in mind the overall interest of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the region as a whole and make unremitting efforts to overcome difficulties, Wen said. China is ready to work together with ROK and other parties concerned to strive to realize long-term peace and stability in Northeast Asia at an early date, he added.

President Roh said China has made unremitting efforts toward the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. In efforts to promote the process of the six-party talks, the two countries have conducted close cooperation, which has not only strengthened their bilateral ties and enhanced mutual trust but also helped accumulate experience for resolving the issues of Northeast Asia, he said. ROK still holds out hope for a settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, he noted, expressing hope that all parties will seize the opportunity to strive to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and long-term peace of Northeast Asia.

Following the talks, Wen and Roh jointly attended a signing ceremony of four cooperation agreements on youth exchanges, labor export, protection of migrant birds and marine search and rescue.

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