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Park ready to charm China (3)


13:21, June 27, 2013

'Old friend'

In a phone call in March after both leaders took office, Xi called Park "an old friend of the Chinese people and of myself", according to ROK officials.

"Personal ties between leaders are very important to bilateral relationship. Both Park and Xi have mentioned on different occasions that they have good impressions of each other. Their personal ties will be sure to promote the China-ROK relationship," said Wang from the CASS.

Since Park's electoral victory, analysts have pinned high hopes on her improving China-ROK relations, which encountered setbacks during her predecessor's time. Park's foreign policy practices in her first few months in office have given them more reasons to be optimistic.

Choosing China as her second destination for a state visit, Park has broken the tradition that an ROK president usually visits Japan after going to the United States, said Huang from Minzu University of China.

The large group of more than 70 business leaders accompanying her shows the importance of economic and trade relationship between the two countries, which is expected to benefit greatly from the visit, Huang said.

In 2008, when Lee visited China, he took 36 business leaders, according to the ROK's Yonhap News Agency.

Wang said the scale of Park's business delegation to China is also much bigger than the one she took to the US for her first state visit, which shows that she is trying to balance the ROK's relations with the US and its ties with China.

On the issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Park stressed "building trust" on the Korean Peninsula, which is welcomed and supported by China, he said.

"During the crisis on the Korean Peninsula in the past few months, we think Park has handled it well. The ROK showed restraint, kept rational and enhanced coordination with China," Wang said.

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