Korea and China agree to establish diplomatic security dialogue

By Park Sae-jin Posted : May 26, 2024, 20:15 Updated : May 26, 2024, 20:23
President Yoon Suk Yeol addresses the meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Presidential Office in Yongsan Seoul on May 26 Joint Press Corps
President Yoon Suk Yeol addresses the meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Presidential Office in Yongsan, Seoul, on May 26. Joint Press Corps.

SEOUL, May 26 (AJU PRESS) - President Yoon Suk Yeol and Chinese Premier Li Qiang met in Seoul on Sunday and agreed to initiate a diplomatic security dialogue and resume talks to enhance their bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) to strengthen economic ties.

During their meeting, Yoon and Li reached an agreement to enhance trade, investment, and cooperation in key industry supply chains, Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo announced in a press briefing.

The leaders decided to establish a diplomatic security dialogue, forming a two-plus-two consultative body between the foreign and defense ministries, with the first meeting scheduled for mid-June.

Also, they agreed to restart the second phase of negotiations for the bilateral FTA, aiming to boost trade in services and investment. The initial phase of the FTA, effective since December 2015, eliminated tariffs on major goods.

"The Korea-China FTA, which came into effect in December 2015, has so far focused on opening up markets in the goods trading sector. However, moving forward, both countries have agreed to expand discussions beyond market access for goods. They will now explore broader exchanges and openness, particularly in the areas of services, including culture, tourism, and legal services," Kim explained.

A bilateral investment cooperation committee will reconvene later this year after a 13-year hiatus. A senior-level dialogue between the two countries' trade ministries will also be established to discuss stabilizing the supply chains of critical industries.

China remains Korea's largest trading partner, though relations have been strained due to Seoul's closer alignment with Washington under the Yoon administration.

The meeting occurs as China faces growing competition with the United States in advanced technologies such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence.

Premier Li's visit to Korea, his first since taking office in March 2023, is for a trilateral summit with President Yoon and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on Monday. Yoon and Li initially met in September 2023 in Indonesia during an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit. This visit marks the first by a Chinese premier in nine years, following former Premier Li Keqiang.
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