1. Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yul had a telephone conversation with Wang Yi, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday, February 6. It was the first telephone conversation between the two ministers since Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul’s inauguration. The two sides discussed issues of mutual interest, including overall Korea-China relations such as high-level exchanges and supply chain cooperation, and North Korean issues.
2. Minister Wang expressed his wish to build close working relations with Minister Cho to closely cooperate for the development of Korea-China relations, and invited Minister Cho to visit China. Minister Cho expressed his gratitude for congratulating him on his inauguration and inviting him to China, and suggested discussing plans for visiting China at a mutually convenient time through diplomatic channels.
3. The two sides reaffirmed their shared commitment to valuing and consistently developing Korea-China relations, and agreed on the importance of strengthening strategic exchanges and communication on various levels for future-oriented development of the bilateral relations. Regarding this, Minister Cho emphasized the importance of minimizing the elements of conflict, while accumulating cooperative achievements, and aiming for a sustainable qualitative development based on trust.
4. Particularly, Minister Cho recalled the shared commitment affirmed during the Korea-Japan-China Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in November last year to accelerating the preparation for the next Trilateral Summit, and suggested advancing the follow-up consultations to this end. Regarding this, Minister Wang expressed his support for Korea’s efforts as the chair. The two sides also agreed to closely communicate for the early holding of consultative forums such as the Korea-China Foreign Policy and Security Dialogue, the Vice Foreign Ministerial Strategic Dialogue, and the Track 1.5 Dialogue.
5. The two sides emphasized the importance of cooperation including the stable management of the supply chains between the two countries in the changing trade environment, and committed to strengthening cooperation on bilateral trade and investment to find a new drive for development.
6. Minister Cho expressed concern over how the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the region by persistently engaging in various provocations since the beginning of the year, while continuing to develop its unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs and pursue military cooperation with Russia which are all prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. Minister Cho asked Beijing to strengthen its constructive role in ensuring that the DPRK refrains from further provocations and chooses the path of denuclearization. Furthermore, Minister Cho delivered the domestic and global concerns about the forcible repatriation of North Korean defectors, and asked the Chinese government to devote particular attention to ensure that North Korean defectors are not repatriated against their will and instead transferred to their desired destinations.