Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) is greeted by South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan upon his arrival at an airport of Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea (ROK), on Aug. 25, 2008. Hu arrived here on Monday to kick off his state visit to the country.(Xinhua Photo/Ju Peng)
SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea (ROK), on Monday for a two-day state visit aimed at furthering bilateral ties.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, President Hu said that since China and ROK established diplomatic relations 16 years ago,the foundation of friendship between the two countries has been consolidated continuously, and cooperation in various sectors beenexpanded rapidly.
Chinese President Hu Jintao waves upon his arrival at an airport of Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea (ROK), on Aug. 25, 2008. Hu arrived here on Monday to kick off his state visit to the country.(Xinhua Photo/Li Xueren)
"All these have brought tangible benefits to the peoples of thetwo countries, and have contributed positively to regional peace and development," said the president.
On the aim of his current visit, the Chinese president said he will exchange views with his ROK counterpart Lee Myung-bak and other ROK leaders on ways of furthering bilateral ties so as to strengthen the consensus, promote friendship, boost cooperation, and work together to open up new prospects for bilateral ties.
In his speech, President Hu expressed thanks for the active support the ROK government and people have rendered for the Beijing Olympic Games,which ended Sunday.
He also congratulated ROK athletes on their outstanding performances at the Beijing Olympics.
This is President Hu's second state visit to the ROK. He last visited the country in November 2005.
During Hu's current visit, China and the ROK are expected to sign a number of cooperation deals on energy conservation, high-tech, economics, trade, education and the 2010 Shanghai WorldExpo, according to Chinese foreign ministry officials.
Hu's visit comes at a time when China-ROK relations are witnessing sound development. President Lee paid a visit to China in May this year.
Lee attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games on Aug. 8 and met the Chinese president on Aug. 9 in Beijing.
The two countries have maintained frequent exchanges of high-level visits and bilateral trade has witnessed a fast expansion. China is now the ROK's largest trading partner, with two-way trade totaling 159 billion U.S. dollars last year.
In the first six months of this year, bilateral trade increasedby 25.7 percent compared with the same period of 2007.
"We expect this state visit (by President Hu) to define the direction of future exchanges and cooperation between China and the ROK, and further advance bilateral ties," a senior Chinese foreign ministry official said on Aug. 20.
Seoul is the first leg of Hu's three-nation tour, which will also take him to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. In the Tajik capitalof Dushanbe, he will attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.