Seoul (dpa) – China’s “close contact” played a key role in defusing
an escalation between North and South Korea last moth, South Korean
President Park Geun Hye said on a visit to Beijing Wednesday.

Seoul and Pyongyang signed a six-point deal on August 25 after three
days of talks to address a flare-up of tension sparked by a landmine
that injured two South Korean soldiers three weeks earlier.

The deal “showcases how important it is to have strategic
cooperations between South Korea and China for … regional peace,”
Park was quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency, after the 34-minute
meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

The agenda of Park’s visit was also to include the “denuclearization
of the Korean peninsula,” Seoul officials said earlier.

Six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, involving the two
Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan, stalled in 2008
without reaching a deal.

Park will also attend a military parade with Xi in Tiananmen Square
to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II on Thursday,
her presidential office said.

Observers noted that Park’s visit to China, historically the North’s
only diplomatic ally, was in contrast to Pyongyang leader Kim Yong Un
who has not yet met Xi since he took power in 2011. Kim sent top aide
Choe Ryong Hae to attend Thursday’s parade.

Others commented that Park would be attending a celebration of the
military power that fought alongside North Korea, against South
Korean troops and their US allies, during the 1950-1953 conflict.

She responded that she was aware of the context and had made the
decision to attend “carefully.”

She was also accompanied by 158 business people representing 128
enteprises. She was due to visit Shanghai on Saturday for a business
forum, the state-run China Daily reported.

She has stressed the need for “closer ties in areas of health care,
medicine, culture, environment and finance” with China, South Korea’s
largest trade partner after the United States.

Xi praised a free trade deal signed in Jue in as an indication of the
improved bilateral relationship.