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Foreign ministers of Korea and China call for the first time, agree to boost trade

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Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul at his inaguration at the government complex in Seoul on Jan. 10. [YONHAP]
Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul at his inaguration at the government complex in Seoul on Jan. 10. [YONHAP]

Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi over a call on Tuesday, marking the first time the duo spoke since Cho’s appointment last month.

In the 50 minutes of conversation over the phone, Cho and Wang discussed high-level visits, supply chain and North Korean nuclear issue among others, said the Foreign Ministry in Seoul.

“Cho recalled the agreement between the foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan and China to speed up the preparation to hold a trilateral presidential summit, to which Wang expressed his support,” said the ministry in a statement.

Wang invited Cho to China for further discussions on matters of bilateral importance, said the ministry.

The duo also stressed the importance for Seoul and Beijing to cooperate on supply chain “in the midst of changing trade dynamics” and to deepen their trade and investment relations, said the ministry.

Cho called on China to play a “constructive role” in convincing North Korea to stop its military provocations and to engage in dialogue for denuclearization, according to the ministry.

He also called for Beijing’s cooperation on protection of human rights of North Korean defectors in China.

The call with Wang took place weeks later than with Cho’s calls with his counterparts in the United States and Japan. Cho spoke over the phone with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken the day after his appointment on Jan. 10, and with the Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa on Jan. 23.

He also spoke soon afterwards with the foreign ministers of Australia and Vietnam, and received at his office a visit by the U.S. Ambassador to Korea Philip Goldberg on Jan. 30.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]