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China, ROK agree to upgrade bilateral ties to "strategic partnership"

Source: Xinhua | 05-28-2008 08:23

BEIJING, May 27 (Xinhua) --- China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Tuesday agreed to upgrade their "comprehensive and cooperative partnership" to "strategic cooperative partnership".

Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) shakes hands with visiting President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea (ROK) during a welcome ceremony held in Beijing, capital of China, May 27, 2008. Lee Myung-bak arrived in Beijing Tuesday afternoon, starting a four-day state visit to China. (Xinhua Photo)
Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) shakes hands with visiting 
President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea (ROK) 
during a welcome ceremony held in Beijing, capital of China, 
May 27, 2008. Lee Myung-bak arrived in Beijing Tuesday 
afternoon, starting a four-day state visit to China. 
(Xinhua Photo)

The agreement came out of the two-hour summit talks in the Great Hall of the People as Beijing rolled out the red carpet for ROK President Lee Myung-bak. He is here on his first state visit to China since taking office on February 25.

Lee was welcomed by Chinese President Hu Jintao and a 21-gun military salute at Tian'anmen Square, festooned with the national flags of China and ROK.

Following an honor guard reception at the square, Hu hailed Lee's visit and said it would "elevate China-ROK relations to a new high".

Hu reviewed the smooth growth of bilateral relations since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1992.

"Our political trust has deepened and bilateral trade has climbed steeply. China has become the ROK's biggest trade partner, importer and exporter."

Lee started with expressing condolences to the Chinese government and people for the devastating earthquake in the southwestern province of Sichuan on May 12. He said he believed a united Chinese people would prevail over the disaster and rebuild their homes in the near future.

Noting the time-honored exchange history between the two countries, Lee said bilateral cooperation had yielded fruitful results since the early 1990s.

"The establishment of a strategic cooperative partnership will usher in a new era of bilateral ties," Hu said.

Under the new strategic partnership agreement, the two countries will step up solidarity and deepen political trust. China and ROK will keep frequent exchanges at all levels and communicate on major issues of common concern.

On the economic front, the two leaders agreed to expand substantive cooperation and seek mutual benefit, particularly in key areas of trade, investment, environment, logistics, communication and energy. They agreed to study and promote the process of China-ROK free trade area (FTA) in a bid to forge closer economic ties.

The new strategic partnership painted the future of bilateral ties, calling for stronger ties between young people in the two countries.

The partnership also outlined their shared views on working more closely on issues concerning northeast Asia security, the United Nations reform and climate change.

On the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, Hu said China would like to make joint efforts with other parties in the six party talks and realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

In response, Lee said ROK would like to work more closely with China under the framework of the six party talks.

After the talks, Hu and Lee witnessed the signing of three bilateral treaties on justice, education and science and technology.

In the following joint press conference, Hu said he would visit the ROK at a "convenient time" for both sides in the second half of this year.

Lee confirmed his attendance at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games this August.

Later on Tuesday, Hu also met with the ROK rescuers who flew to the quake zone to dig out survivors, expressing his appreciation for their prompt support to China.


Editor:Du Xiaodan