S. Korea, China to hold joint economic committee meeting this month

Apr 09, 2018, 10:35 am

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President Moon Jae-in meets Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at Cheong Wa Dae on March 30./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporter Heo Go-woon

South Korea and China will hold a vice-ministerial economic committee meeting for the first time in two years to discuss the overall economic and trade agenda between the two countries, showing signs of a diplomatic thaw.

According to diplomatic sources on Sunday, the two governments agreed to re-open the 22nd Korea-China Joint Economic Committee session in Beijing later this month. South Korea will be represented by Second Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun while China will be represented by Vice Commerce Minister Gao Yan. Ministers from the Foreign Ministry and Trade, Industry and Energy will be also attending the meeting.

"Both countries are discussing the details of the topics," an official from the foreign ministry said. "We are expected to discuss the progression of agreements made at the summit talks last December, cooperation projects between Korea's New Northern and Southern policies and China's One Belt, One Road initiative, and more."
The joint economic committee has been held annually since 1993. However, the two sides didn't hold the session last year as the tensions between the two countries deepened due to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on South Korea. This re-opening of the meeting in two years reflects the fact that the THAAD conflict between the two countries has been resolved in some degree. At the meeting, the two countries are likely to discuss the lifting of China's THAAD retaliation on South Korean businesses.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi said at a meeting with President Moon Jae-in on March 30 that the issues regarding the normalization of Chinese group tours to South Korea, the selling of Lotte Mart's Chinese units, the resumption of Lotte World project in Shenyang, and the subsidies of electric car batteries will see "tangible results" in the near future and asked for President Moon's faith in his words.

"South Korean government needs cooperation and friendly relations with China in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and economic cooperation issues lined to national interest," said Kim Han-kwon, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

Both countries are expected to exchange views on ways to link South Korea's new Southern and Northern Policies to China's One Belt, One Road project. "We need to find a way to create new economic opportunities in the Midwest region, which is less developed compared with the East region," Kim said. "China will also be interested if economic cooperation is to be pursued in the environment sector, which benefits both countries."

#South Korea #China #joint economic committee #Yang Jiechi #Moon Jae-in 
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