SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a summit in Papua New Guinea on Saturday to discuss peace efforts on the Korean Peninsula and other issues.
The meeting on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum came as Moon pushes to elicit international support to keep Pyongyang on a denuclearization track amid an apparent lack of progress in its negotiations with Washington.
"As the two countries' strategic interests of peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia coincide, I hope we can cooperate more closely on the development of China-South Korea relations and the peace process on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said.
Noting the opening of an "unprecedented era of peace" on the peninsula this year, Moon expressed his appreciation for Xi's "constructive role" in progress on the peace efforts.
The Chinese leader said in turn that bilateral cooperation on stabilizing the situation on the divided peninsula has been "very effective."
"In terms of cooperating with neighboring countries, pursuing peace and safety on the peninsula and implementing an equal, fair order, China and South Korea have similar positions," Xi said.
He then stressed the need to strengthen bilateral "strategic communication," which he said serves the two countries' shared interests.
"We should continue to play a positive role in continuing to deepen the two countries' strategic communication and maintaining an enduring peace and prosperity in this region," he said.
The South Korean leader also called for joint efforts in addressing a range of pending issues, such as ultra-fine dust pollution.
At the summit, Moon was expected to call on Xi to play an active role in persuading the North to take tangible steps towards its nuclear disarmament that could ease growing skepticism over its willingness to renounce its nuclear ambitions.
Observers also anticipated that the two sides might discuss how to bridge the gap between Washington and Pyongyang in their nuclear negotiations.
The North has sought U.S. concessions vis a vis its demands for a declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War -- apparently as a way to guarantee its regime security -- and sanctions relief.
But the U.S. has insisted that Pyongyang should first take concrete measures, such as a full declaration of its nuclear and missile programs, before any rewards could be given, particularly amid reports that the reclusive regime is continuing its weapons program.
The two leaders last met in December, when Moon made a state visit to Beijing. Saturday's summit is their fourth since Moon took office in May last year.
Moon is set to return home Sunday.
Source: Yonhap News Agency