At the invitation of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Li Keqiang, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council, will pay an official goodwill visit to the DPRK from Oct. 23 to 25, 2011. At the invitation of the government of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Vice Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council will pay an official visit to the Republic of Korea from Oct. 26 to 27, 2011. On Oct. 20, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun accepted a joint interview with Chinese media concerning Vice Premier Li Keqiang's visits.
Zhang said that China enjoys geographical proximity, cultural similarities and profound traditional friendships with DPRK and ROK. It is the consistent policy of the Chinese government to constantly consolidate and develop China-DPRK and China-ROK relations. China is willing to enhance understanding, deepen mutual trust, expand consensus and develop cooperation with DPRK and ROK in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. Vice Premier Li's visits will play an active role in promoting the further development of China-DPRK and China-ROK relations as well as in maintaining and promoting peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the entire region.
Zhang said that with the joint efforts of the parties concerned, the overall situation of the Korean Peninsula has eased up this year. China maintained close communication and coordination with all parties, actively promoted peace talks and dialogues, supported relevant parties to have engagements and dialogues, and promoted the early resumption of the talks.
Zhang said the current China-DPRK relations are developing well. The two sides maintained the tradition of exchanging high-level visits. Kim Jong Il, the top leader of DPRK, made two informal visits to China this year. Choe Yong Rim, Premier of the DPRK Cabinet, visited China not long ago. This year marks the 50th year of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between China and DPRK. Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang and Vice President Yang Hyong Sop of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly headed the delegations for exchange visits. China is the largest trading partner of DPRK. The bilateral trade in 2010 amounted to $3.47 billion. The "two economic zones", the New Yalu River Bridge project and other cooperation projects are being carried out steadily. The two sides maintained friendly exchanges and cooperation in culture, education, tourism and other areas. The personnel exchanges between the two countries reached approximately 247,000 person times in 2010. The two sides maintained close communication and coordination in international and regional affairs. The main purpose of Vice Premier Li's visit is to further strengthen political communication with DPRK, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and promote people-to-people exchange and cooperation in other fields. During the visit, Vice Premier Li will hold meetings and talks with the party and state leaders of DPRK and have an in-depth exchange of views on China-DPRK relations as well as international and regional issues of mutual concern. Vice Premier Li will also visit some of the social and livelihood projects in DPRK.
Zhang expressed the belief that Vice Premier Li's visit to DPRK will definitely consolidate the traditional friendship between the two peoples, deepen mutual political trust and mutually beneficial cooperation and promote the further development of China-DPRK traditional relationship of friendship and cooperation.
Zhang said that the current China-ROK relations are developing well. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, the friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in various fields have witnessed significant progress. The two sides have established strategic partnership. The leaders of the two countries maintained regular contacts through the exchange of visits and on international occasions. The economic and trade cooperation between the two countries is deepening. The trade between China and ROK exceeded $200 billion in 2010, an increase of 32% from 2009. China is the largest trading partner, the largest export market, the largest of source of import, and the largest overseas investment destination of the Republic of Korea. ROK is China's third largest trading partner and the third largest source of foreign direct investment. As of July 2011, the mutual investment amounted to $50 billion. The people-to-people exchange between the two countries was very active. Over 130 pairs of provinces and cities of the two countries established friendly relations. There are more than 830 weekly flights between major cities of the two countries. The personnel exchanges between the two countries reached nearly 6 million person times in 2010. There are about 68,000 students from ROK studying in China. There are about 79,000 Chinese students studying in ROK. The two countries are the largest source of foreign students of each other. The two sides maintained sound communication and coordination on international and regional issues. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of China-ROK diplomatic ties. The two sides are planning a variety of commemorative activities for the anniversary. Bilateral relations are facing new development opportunities.
Zhang said that the main purpose of Vice Premier Li's visit to ROK is to strengthen the high-level communication with ROK, enhance mutually beneficial cooperation, and expand common interests. During the visit to ROK, Vice Premier Li will hold meetings and talks with the leaders of ROK and have an in-depth exchange of views on China-ROK relations as well as international and regional issues of mutual concern. He will meet extensively with different communities including business community and youth students.
Zhang expressed the belief that with the joint efforts of China and ROK, Vice Premier Li's visit to ROK will achieve a great success and inject new impetus to the development of China-ROK strategic cooperative partnership.