News / Economy

China, South Korea Expand Economic Ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, left, greet children at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, July 3, 2014.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, left, greet children at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, July 3, 2014.
VOA News

China and South Korea agreed to expand economic ties and reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearized Korean peninsula, as Chinese President Xi Jinping began a state visit to Seoul.

At a joint news briefing with Xi, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Seoul and Beijing will work to complete a long-negotiated free trade agreement by the end of this year.

Seoul's finance ministry also said the two sides agreed to introduce direct trading between the South Korean won and the Chinese yuan, a measure that will expand the use of China's currency.

The decision means the yuan joins the dollar as the only currency directly convertible with the won.

Park also said she agreed with Xi that the Korean peninsula should be denuclearized and that the two leaders "resolutely" oppose further nuclear tests by North Korea.

"Above all, in the current situation, where North Korea once again launched its missile and maintained its stance of carrying out simultaneous development of its nuclear capability and economy, President Xi's visit to South Korea will be a clear message for North Korea's denuclearization, and peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula," Park said.

Xi's visit is expected to be dominated by concerns over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The trip is seen by many as a snub to North Korea, Beijing's historical ally.

In the past week, the North has fired several short-range rockets off its east coast, in what some view as a sign Pyongyang is unhappy with Xi's visit.

His trip marks the first time a Chinese president has visited South Korea before North Korea and the fifth time Park and Xi have met since they took office.

Xi has not yet met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who took power in 2011.

Kang Jun-young, a professor at Seoul's Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, told VOA the trip is also an opportunity for China to bring South Korea closer into its sphere of influence and thereby alienate Japan.

If China is to resist the United States’ rebalancing policy in Asia, he said, it must “curb Japan – if China can work with South Korea, which is a victim of Japan’s imperialism. 

“Of course, South Korea must keep amicable relations with China,” Kang added, “but we also cannot go too much to China’s side because … of an alliance among South Korea, the United States and Japan."

Before the trip, China's Communist Party-run Global Times hailed South Korea as an "exemplar of good neighbor relations." The editorial said ties have been "particularly thriving" amid what it called an "intricate and complex" situation in Northeast Asia.

South Korea, along with its allies in Washington, have been pushing China to apply more pressure on North Korea to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

In recent years, Beijing has gone along with expanded U.N. sanctions against the North. But it has been reluctant to publicly make any statements that would upset Pyongyang, instead calling for the whole Korean peninsula to be denuclearized.

VOA Seoul bureau producer Youmi Kim contributed to this report.

Xi Jinping visits Seoul

  • China's President Xi Jinping and his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye attend a signing ceremony after a summit meeting at the Blue House in Seoul, July 3, 2014.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping listens as his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye speaks during their joint news conference at the presidential house in Seoul, July 3, 2014.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Park Geun-hye greet children waving the two countries' national flags during a welcoming ceremony at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, July 3, 2014.
  • Conservative activists shout during a rally welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to South Korea, near the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, July 2, 2014.
  • North Korean defectors and South Korean Christians protest near the Chinese Embassy in Seoul ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the city, June 2, 2014.


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Comment Sorting
by: youngthing from: nowhere
July 03, 2014 11:27 PM
At 8 am on July 3rd, a Vietnamese fishing boat named QNg 94912 TS with six fishermen was captured by Chinese navy. This incident occured while QNg 94912 TS was fishing on its traditional fishing ground and in territorial water of Vietnam. At that time, QNg 44158 TS was fishing nearby, witnessed the incident and called relatives of the victims. Vietnam authorities are in verifying the info.

China will be a good friend of South Korea??? Let's look at China friend in the North. China gave North Korea nothing but poor and slavery.
In Response

by: Wing from: Hong Kong
July 05, 2014 4:07 AM
The comment from youngthing indicates that he is an ignor! North Korea depends on China so much. If the Chinese stops financial aid and food aid to them to them, they are starving.

Equally true if Vietnam does not have a financial partner like China you are also starving.

by: Sam from: California
July 03, 2014 10:34 AM
What a joke. South Koreans are the only fools trusting China right now. Another country for china to take jobs and resources from. Maybe US should get stop supporting SK if they love China so much. China will now control both north and South Korea. Just what the Chinese wanted.
In Response

by: Wing from: Hong Kong
July 05, 2014 4:29 AM

Let's be realistic! American's strength and influence are deteriorating. You should welcome the Chinese involvement to control the North Korea and promoting peace.

by: jonathan huang from: canada
July 03, 2014 9:03 AM
good job China and Korea!
we brothers should work together even closer to build a stable and prosperous Asia.

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