Park sees blueprint for ties

Updated: 2013-06-27 01:53

By Li Xiaokun, Wu Jiao and Jiao Xiaoli (China Daily)

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Beijing's ties with Seoul got a late start in 1992 when diplomatic ties were established, but relations have surged rapidly.

China is now the ROK's biggest trading partner and investment destination.

According to the Chinese embassy in Seoul, two-way trade reached a high of $256.3 billion in 2012, which also saw about 7.2 million visits between the neighbors.

"Over the past 20 years, (South) Korea-China relations have made remarkable progress. Now is the time for our two countries to elevate the bilateral relationship to a new height," Park said.

Referring to bilateral FTA talks, she said she "believed it is high time for our two countries to seek a new framework of economic cooperation commensurate with our economic status in the international community".

"If a free trade agreement is concluded, it would make it possible for our two countries to enter one another's domestic market and would make a great contribution to the stable expansion of bilateral trade."

Beijing and Seoul started FTA negotiations last year. They are expected to discuss the free trade pact during Park's visit.

Park added that though Seoul and Beijing are "very closely related economically and culturally", some have made note of the fact that "the level of bilateral cooperation in politics and security lags relatively behind that in the economy and culture".

"If we continue to further promote cooperation in the fields of the economy and society while deepening the extent of mutual cooperation in politics and security at the same time, our two countries will be able to carve out a new future for Northeast Asia," she said.