The presidents of South Korea and China say they have agreed to boost security and trade ties after meeting Tuesday in Beijing.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said the two sides agreed to elevate their ties and forge what he called a strategic and cooperative partnership.
Speaking at a joint news conference with China's President Hu Jintao, Mr. Lee called the proposed partnership a historic new start.
The two agreed to work together on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program and to pursue talks on a free trade deal.
Mr. Lee says South Korea and China will continue a joint study to evaluate the feasibility of a free trade agreement.
China is South Korea's biggest trading partner. Last year their total trade amounted to $145 billion.
Mr. Lee arrived in Beijing Tuesday on a three-day trip. Several dozen business leaders have accompanied him to China.
South Korean firms are trying to win a greater share of the Chinese market in sectors ranging from telecommunications and autos to construction and retail sales.