Speaker Kim, China’s top legislator agree on beefing up strategic communication for peace on Korean Peninsula

September 16, 2022

National Assembly Speaker Kim Jin-pyo and China’s top legislator, Li Zhanshu, agreed Friday on the need to beef up strategic communications to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issue and maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“We exchanged our opinions on the geopolitical situation of the Korean Peninsula and agreed it is important to sustain strategic communications between South Korea and China for the stable management of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issue,” Kim said during a joint press briefing following their meeting.

While sticking to the principle of responding sternly to North Korean provocations, South Korea is also making continuous efforts for a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the issue as seen in President Yoon Suk-yeol’s “audacious plan” that offers massive economic aid in exchange for denuclearization, Kim said.

“We look forward to a constructive role from the Chinese side,” he said.

Li, China’s third-highest-ranking official and chief of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said the two shared views that defending peace and stability on the peninsula is in line with the common interests of each side.

He also called on both sides to strengthen communication and play active roles to resolve issues on the Korean Peninsula through a political process, pinning hopes that the two countries will enter a “brighter future” under the strategic leaderships of Yoon and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Kim and Li highlighted the need to strengthen parliamentary cooperation between the two countries as Seoul and Beijing mark 30 years since establishing diplomatic ties this year.

“We agreed on the need to reinforce arrangements to activate top- and high-level exchanges,” Kim said, adding that he proposed a meeting of parliamentary leaders of South Korea, China and Japan, and Li promised to consider it positively.

Also discussed during their meeting was strengthening cooperation to stably manage supply chains and widening exchanges between the two countries, with Li voicing support for accelerating talks on the second phase of the Seoul-Beijing free trade agreement.

The Chinese official said the two countries should work together to guard multilateralism and regional trade, and talk their way through “sensitive” issues based on the spirit of mutual respect.

Li arrived in Seoul on Thursday for a three-day visit at the invitation of Kim. His visit to Korea marks the first one by China’s top legislator to the country since former legislator Zhang Dejiang’s trip in 2015.

Later Friday, Li met with Yoon at the presidential office.

Yoon expressed his deep consolation to the victims of the recent earthquake in China’s Sichuan province, saying he wishes for a quick return to stability.

“This year is a meaningful year marking 30 years of diplomatic relations between South Korea and China,” he said. “I look forward to your role and interest as our two countries develop further.”

Li said that he brings greetings from Xi.

“Over the last 30 years, China-South Korea relations have developed in all directions in line with the era under the joint efforts of the two countries’ leaders,” he said through a translator. “They brought large benefits to the two countries and to the two countries’ peoples, and played an important role for peace and development in the region and the world.”

It was not immediately clear whether the two discussed the possibility of Xi visiting South Korea, a subject that was widely speculated about ahead of Li’s visit.