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Kang preps for Moon’s trip to China next month

Nov 23,2017
Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on Wednesday, in preparation for President Moon Jae-in’s trip to China next month, his first visit since taking office.

Kang arrived in Beijing Tuesday evening for a three-day trip, kicking off her first visit to the country since she took up the post as Seoul’s top envoy in June. She was greeted by Chen Hai, China’s deputy director general for Asian affairs.

Kang said she would be discussing the details and setting the agenda for Moon’s summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in December, especially following the bilateral agreement last month to get bilateral relations back on track after a yearlong standoff over the deployment of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) battery in Korea.

The meeting was also an opportunity to cover in-depth ways for Seoul and Beijing to seek a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue.

It also came after Song Tao, head of the International Liaison Department, visited Pyongyang as a special envoy, so Kang may have received details of this trip during the meeting.

On Oct. 31, the two countries’ foreign ministry officials agreed to return to “a normal development track,” after the Korean government assuaged Beijing’s security concerns with the so-called “three nos,” meaning no additional Thaad deployments, no joining of a broader U.S. missile defense system and no Korea-U.S.-Japan military alliance.

Moon and Xi agreed to normalize exchanges in a bilateral summit on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting earlier this month in Da Nang, Vietnam, and agreed to Moon’s first trip to Beijing in December. But China still seeks the withdrawal of the Thaad battery, leaving the issue not completely resolved.

Earlier in the day, Kang held a lunch meeting with Fu Ying, chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, who took part in the six-party talks to denuclearize the North as a deputy nuclear envoy and has overseen Korean Peninsula issues for many years.

Kang and Fu acknowledged that Korea and China’s parliamentary exchanges “helped contribute to the stable development of the two countries’ relations.”

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]