|Chinese President Xi Jinping (L, front) and his wife Peng Liyuan (R, front) inspect an honor guard upon their arrival in Seoul, capital of South Korea, July 3, 2014. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Seoul Thursday for a two-day state visit to South Korea. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)|
SEOUL, July 3 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Seoul Thursday for a two-day state visit toSouth Korea, his first trip to the Asian neighbor since he took office last year.
Xi is scheduled to hold talks with his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye and meet with National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa and Prime Minister Chung Hong-won.
He will also deliver a speech at Seoul National University and attend economic and trade events during his stay in South Korea.
The two countries are expected to issue a joint statement on bilateral relations and regional issues during Xi's visit. They will also sign a batch of deals on cooperation in economy, trade, finance, environment and consular affairs.
Xi and South Korean leaders will review the achievements in relations between the two countries and chart the course of bilateral ties. They will exchange views on enhancing political mutual trust, boosting exchanges and cooperation, strengthening coordination in international and regional affairs, and maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, in a bid to further enrich their strategic cooperative partnership, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters ahead of Xi's visit.
China and South Korea have witnessed rapid development in their relationship since the two countries forged diplomatic ties 22 years ago.
China has become South Korea's largest trading partner, largest market of exports, largest source of imports and largest destination of overseas investment, while South Korea was China's third-largest trading partner and fifth-largest source of foreign investment in 2013.
In addition, China and South Korea are each other's largest tourist destination country and largest source of overseas students.
China's two-way trade with South Korea totaled 274.25 billion U.S. dollars last year, indicating an annual increase of seven percent, statistics with China's General Administration of Customs showed. The figure amounts to South Korea's trade volume with the United States andJapan combined.
The two countries launched negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in May 2012. To date, 11 rounds of talks have been held.
The July 3-4 trip is Xi's first visit to South Korea as president but will be his fifth summit meeting with Park.
Park paid a state visit to China from June 27 to 30 last year, shortly after taking office.
The two heads of state also met each other ahead of the 21st informal economic leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation last October in Indonesia's resort island of Bali and on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands in March.