Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to make his first visit to South Korea in Six Years within the next few months, an informed source said Sunday, as President Moon Jae-in sets his sights on an “epoch-making” improvement in relations between the neighbouring Countries.
“President Xi is preparing to visit South Korea just before or after a visit to Japan, around when cherry blossoms bloom,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
President Xi is also considering a trip to North Korea this year, according to the source, who also said the President’s visits to the two Korea’s and Japan “are intertwined, as Beijing is concerned about relations with all its neighbours.”
President Xi made his previous state visit to South Korea in July 2014 and held his latest summit with Moon in Beijing last month.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will likely travel to South Korea separately this year to represent his country in an annual trilateral summit involving Japan. It is South Korea’s turn to host the event, after it was held in Chengdu, China, last year.
The date of this year’s summit has yet to be announced, likely as it has yet to be fixed.
Moon described the Chinese leaders planned trips here as an opportunity for South Korea-China relations to take “an epoch-making leap.”
The relationship soured following the former Park Geun-hye administration’s 2016 decision to accept the stationing of a U.S. advanced missile defence system, THAAD, in South Korea.
In particular, the Moon government has decided to place a priority on implementing its New Northern Policy throughout 2020 after focusing on laying the groundwork for the New Southern Policy, mainly centred on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, over the past three years.
One of Moon’s key tasks is to harmonise the diplomatic initiative with China’s Belt & Road Strategy.
His office has already instructed the Foreign Ministry and related authorities to map out detailed plans to maximise synergy between the two.
Moon hopes to revive projects to reconnect inter-Korean railroads as part of his “East Asia Railway Community” vision. In their Chengdu talks in late December, the Chinese Premier expressed support for Moon’s Initiative, according to Cheong Wa Dae.