Chinese envoy questions S. Koreans’ view on Xi’s possible ‘reciprocal’ visit

SEOUL– The top Chinese envoy here indicated Wednesday that he has reservations about the possibility of President Xi Jinping making a “reciprocal” visit to South Korea anytime soon.

South Korean officials apparently hope that Xi will visit here at an early date in return for Moon Jae-in’s trip to his country in 2017 and 2019 as South Korea’s leader.

When asked about a view that it is Xi’s turn to visit South Korea for summit diplomacy, Xing Haiming, Beijing’s ambassador to Seoul, tersely told reporters, “What turn? Is there any?”

The veteran diplomat added his country will have “good discussions” with South Korea through diplomatic channels on the matter of continuing bilateral summit diplomacy. He was speaking after participating in a forum on Seoul-Beijing relations.

His comments suggested that China may have a different view on whether Xi should first visit South Korea for a follow-up summit with President Yoon Suk-yeol who took office in May.

During their first one-on-one talks in Indonesia last month, Yoon invited Xi to visit South Korea, while Xi also extended his invitation for Yoon to visit China.

The foreign ministers of the neighboring countries also agreed in virtual talks Monday on close communication to maintain the momentum in high-level exchanges.

Last week, Xi traveled to Saudi Arabia for the first China-Arab States summit, a move construed by western media outlets as reflecting Beijing’s accelerating drive to mend global fences.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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