Fostering a high-quality partnership
ZENG YI/FOR CHINA DAILY
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and the Republic of Korea have made great progress in advancing bilateral relations
China and the Republic of Korea have maintained close communication on political issues over the past year, consolidating the foundation for their mutual trust.
The high-level exchanges and interactions have injected new momentum into their relations. Chinese President Xi Jinping had three telephone calls with his ROK counterpart Moon Jae-in to set the direction for bilateral relations. And Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, held a video conference with the ROK's National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug to normalize the regular meetings between the legislative bodies of the two countries. The visit to the ROK by Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee was a success. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the ROK's Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong have conducted successful exchange visits in a short time.
Faced with the novel coronavirus outbreak, China and the ROK took the lead in building a coordination mechanism for pandemic prevention and control, launched a green channel to facilitate personnel exchanges and promoted cooperation to resume work and production.
Thanks to their joint efforts, the economic and trade exchanges between the two countries have grown despite the adverse impacts of the pandemic, with the total trade volume of the two countries reaching $285.3 billion last year, exceeding the sum of the ROK-US and ROK-Japan trade.
The two sides have continued to improve their pragmatic cooperation. Over the past year, China and the ROK have maintained cultural and people-to-people exchanges, increasingly consolidating their friendly public opinion, and the two peoples have worked together in the spirit of the poem "Great distances cannot separate us; we all live in a united world".
Thanks to cloud-based technology, China and the ROK have promoted extensive online interaction between their media, think tanks, youth and other sectors, and constantly enriched the connotations of people-to-people exchanges.
Both sides overcame difficulties and successfully implemented the seventh batch of the handover of the remains of soldiers from the Chinese People's Volunteers who served in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53).
At the beginning of this year, the two heads of state agreed to host the "China-ROK Cultural Exchange Year". As 2022 will mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, China and the ROK will embrace an important opportunity to improve and upgrade bilateral relations.
When State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a meeting with the ROK's Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong in Xiamen last month, they reviewed the development of bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties, looked forward to the broad prospects for the future, and reached a consensus on the future development of bilateral relations.
On the basis of mutual respect for each other's core interests and major concerns, China is willing to steadily promote exchanges between the two countries at all levels, hold a new round of strategic dialogue at the ministerial level between the diplomatic departments of the two countries and the first round of the 2+2 diplomatic and security dialogue at the vice-ministerial level at an early date, in order to deepen mutual trust and ensure stable relations.
China will also share new opportunities and stimulate the potential of pragmatic cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, win-win and integrated development. We look forward to aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with the ROK's New Southern Policy to jointly develop third party markets and explore new highlights for bilateral cooperation.
China will further integrate its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and new development paradigm with the ROK's Green New Deal, deepen cooperation in key areas such as the digital economy, artificial intelligence and biopharmaceuticals, consolidate the supply, industrial, data, and talent chains, and share the dividends of each other's economic growth.
The two countries will also accelerate the second-phase negotiations for the China-ROK free-trade agreement, work together to promote an early entry into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, and strengthen communication on the issue of accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, further liberalize and facilitate trade and investment, and strive to boost regional economic integration.
The Chinese side expects to work with the ROK to hold a meeting of the committee for the promotion of people-to-people and cultural exchanges as soon as possible to plan for colorful activities to celebrate the "China-ROK Cultural Exchange Year".
The two sides also aim to take the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 2022 as an opportunity to strengthen ties and will give full play to the role of a committee on the future development of China-ROK relations, drawing up a blueprint for the development of ties.
Taking the opportunity of holding the Winter Olympic Games and the Winter Youth Olympic Games respectively, China and the ROK will support each other and increase their exchanges.
China and the ROK will tackle new challenges and work together to create a new chapter in building a community with a shared future for mankind on the basis of equality, mutual respect and trust.
China is willing to work with the ROK to further enlarge the exemplary effects of their anti-pandemic cooperation, adhere to the core values and basic principles of multilateralism, carry forward the common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom for all mankind, respond to the profound changes of the global situation, and jointly oppose hegemony and uphold justice.
Together the two countries can promote global governance in a more balanced and inclusive way, and make their due contributions to the prosperity and stability of the region and the world.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pragmatic cooperation between the two countries has further highlighted the common value of mutual benefit.
As an old Chinese saying goes, "One should be able to establish himself at the age of 30." We have high expectations of China-ROK relations, and we will work hand in hand to forge ahead and make unremitting efforts to promote the all-round development of bilateral ties in all fields with great hope and confidence.
The author is the Chinese ambassador to the Republic of Korea. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.