President Moon Jae-in and Premier Li Keqiang of the People’s Republic of China held a meeting and attended a dinner in Chengdu, China, from 6:30 to 8:55 this evening (local time). The two leaders had in-depth discussions on issues of mutual concern, including ways to promote substantive bilateral cooperation in such areas as the economy, trade, the environment and culture.
Premier Li began by saying that the relationship between the two countries has achieved rapid progress in terms of the economy and cultural and people-to-people exchanges. He went on to say that China considers its ties with Korea to be very important. He expressed the hope that bilateral relations would continue to advance, saying that this would carry great significance for the entire world. Moreover, he highly praised the development of bilateral ties by saying that the China-Korea cooperation mechanism had suffered a setback but is now on the right track.
The two leaders expressed full agreement on the need to strengthen collaboration in innovative industries, service industries and on the environment. They also saw eye to eye on the necessity of further deepening economic cooperation through follow-up negotiations for the Korea-China FTA on services and investment as well as through substantive progress in the Korea-China-Japan FTA negotiations.
In particular, the Chinese Premier said that he would give positive consideration to promoting cultural and people-to-people exchanges, expressing his hope for new bilateral advances in the economic sector. In reply, President Moon said, “I look forward to seeing the Republic of Korea, together with China, taking the lead in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution going forward.”
Speaking of the 10,000-kilometer-long Chengdu-Europe express railway, President Moon said, “If severed railroads and roads between South and North Korea are entirely connected, thereby completing the Eurasian logistics network that will extend from the Korean Peninsula to China and all the way to Europe, this will serve as the foundation for creating a multilateral peace and security regime in the region.” The President then asked China to work together as a partner to make the envisioned East Asian Railroad Community a reality.
In regard to President Moon’s East Asian Railroad Community initiative, Premier Li said that China is willing to participate in the plan. The Premier went on to say that China actively supports the resolution of issues between North Korea and the United States through dialogue, pledging to work together going forward. The Premier added that China will continue to play a positive role for peace on the Korean Peninsula while actively communicating with South Korea.
Regarding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership treaty, Premier Li said that China is taking an open stance so that India can participate in the final agreement at any time. The Premier stressed that if the agreement is finally signed next year and takes effect, it will provide the global economy a strong driving force. In reply, President Moon said Korea and China must continue to work together to encourage India’s participation up until the agreement is finally signed.
In closing, Premier Li said that if one climbs high up on a mountain, the other mountains look small, proposing that Korea and China take on diverse issues together. Meanwhile, he referred once more to the words of Du Fu’s poem mentioned by President Moon in his opening remarks (Good rains know their proper time; coming in spring, they bring forth life), saying that it is not spring yet, but let’s all advance toward a warm future.
In reply, President Moon remarked “When we met in December 2017, you said, ‘Winter Solstice is the day heralding that winter is about to end and spring is about to arrive.’ Yesterday was Winter Solstice. Going forward, I hope that our two countries’ relations can enter spring based upon the past 28 years of cooperation.”