National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, on his official trip to China, held talks on May 7 with Chairman Li Zhanshu of the National People's Congress of China's (NPC) Standing Committee. The NPC's Standing Committee is a permanent legislative body that undertakes part of the NPC's functions and responsibilities when the NPC is not in session.

As their talks began, Speaker Moon extended his gratitude to his counterpart for his warm hospitality, and then said he had received surgery just days before the trip, but had gone ahead with the plan to visit China because he placed a great deal of importance on deepening the ROK-China relationship in view of the serious atmosphere on the Korean Peninsula, as well as to keep his promise.

Chairman Li said he was very touched that Speaker Moon had decided to visit Beijing despite his medical condition, underscoring that the speaker had demonstrated a firm commitment to strengthening ROK-China ties.

He noted that the bilateral relationship has been following a steady course of development over the past year thanks to the leadership and accord between Chinese President Xi Jinping and ROK President Moon Jae-in. He added that he would do his part to help both countries continue engaging in dialogue, in turn helping to facilitate the implementation of major agreements between the two presidents, of ROK-China exchange and cooperation, and of bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula.

Speaker Moon said that only a year and half ago, inter-Korean tensions had risen nearly to the verge of war over North Korean military provocations, but that a peaceful process of dialogue began following the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, resulting in the historic first Washington-Pyongyang summit and three inter-Korean summits. He added that combined efforts by China and other countries had played a critical role in the process.

He also noted that although the latest U.S.-North Korean summit in Hanoi had failed to draw any agreement, it was still a positive step in that both sides have since been continuously expressing their commitment to breaking the impasse through dialogue and negotiations despite the gap between their stances. The speaker asked for Beijing's constructive role in the process, particularly in arranging a fourth inter-Korean summit and a third Washington-Pyongyang summit.

Chairman Li remarked that it was true that Washington and Pyongyang had each taken a hard line over some issues after the Hanoi summit broke down, but their underlying criterion of approaching problems through dialogue has not changed. The problems of the Korean Peninsula are entangled with the interests of multiple parties, and are at heart security issues, which require ongoing efforts in order to build trust among the parties, he added.

In regard to economic affairs, Speaker Moon noted that trade and investment between the ROK and China have been growing, helped by the active efforts of economic cooperation bodies between the two governments. He expressed hopes that the resumption of Chinese group tours to the ROK would gain momentum as well.

Speaker Moon and Chairman Li agreed that cooperation and exchange programs should be immediately launched among local governments and investment companies between the two countries in order to tighten ROK-China economic cooperation. And to respond effectively to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the two nations should cooperate across a range of sectors in science and technology, they said.

They also shared the idea that air pollution issues, including fine dust, affect both countries across national borders, and therefore, the ROK and China must work closely together to devise practical solutions. They each described their respective country's legislative actions to mitigate fine dust, and promised concerted countermeasures by the two parliaments.

As their talks wrapped up, Speaker Moon offered his counterpart an invitation to the ROK, and the Chinese chairman thanked him for the invitation and said he would try to visit Seoul as soon as possible.

After the talks, the speaker and the delegation attended a welcome dinner hosted by Chairman Li, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Source: The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea