Park, Xi agree to wrap up FTA talks by year's end

By Park Sae-jin Posted : July 3, 2014, 14:29 Updated : July 4, 2014, 08:08


Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in South Korea on Thursday for a two-day state visit.

Upon arrival at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, Xi was greeted by Foreign Minister Yoon Byung-se; Kwon Young-se, South Korean ambassador to China; Cho Yoon-sun, senior presidential secretary for political affairs; and Choi Jong-hyun, head of the foreign ministry’s protocol office.

In a joint press briefing following a summit meeting with Xi at Cheong Wa Dae later in the day, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said they "reaffirmed our firm opposition to the development of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula."

The two leaders also agreed to wrap up negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries by the end of this year.

Xi, accompanied by first lady Peng Liyuan, attended a state dinner hosted by Park at Cheong Wa Dae.

On the second and last day of his visit, Xi is scheduled to meet National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa and Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, deliver a speech at an economic and trade cooperation forum and give a lecture at Seoul National University.

The visit, Xi’s first trip to South Korea since his inauguration in March last year, is to reciprocate Park’s trip to China in June last year.

It is the first time for a Chinese president to visit South Korea before traveling to North Korea, a traditional ally of China, since South Korea established diplomatic relations with China in 1992.

Xi first visited North Korea in 2008 when he served as vice president.
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