S. Korea, China to hold virtual senior-level economic talks in wake of urea supply woes

November 26, 2021

 South Korea and China will have senior-level economic talks via video links next week, the foreign ministry said Friday, in the wake of urea supply shortages here.

Seoul’s Second Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-moon and Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Ren Hongbin will lead the session of the two countries’ joint economic committee Tuesday to discuss investment, trade and other pending issues, the ministry said.

The meeting could touch on South Korea’s recent supply shortage of urea solution, which is needed in diesel cars to cut emissions, following Beijing’s export curbs on urea to ease domestic supply bottlenecks.

The two sides are also expected to touch on cooperation in cultural content exchanges, as Seoul has been striving to address Beijing’s perceived restrictions on Korean entertainment and cultural industries, which followed Seoul’s 2016 decision to host a U.S. anti-missile system.

Next week’s session is an annual economic dialogue between the Asian neighbors, but it is drawing keen attention as South Korea is under growing U.S. pressure to join a campaign to rebuild global supply chains less dependent on China.

China is South Korea’s largest trading partner and supplies many of the raw materials needed in chips, batteries and other key export items.