Comparative Connections v.11 n.4 - China-Korea Relations
January 13, 2010
The last quarter of 2009 raised hopes for developments in China’s relations with both Koreas. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping received head-of-state treatment during his visit to South Korea where he presented proposals to further the China-ROK strategic cooperative partnership, including pressing for a free trade agreement. President Lee Myung-bak and Premier Wen Jiabao held bilateral talks in Beijing on the sidelines of the China-ROK-Japan trilateral summit, which Lee used to promote his "grand bargain" on North Korean denuclearization. There were also several exchanges between China and the DPRK. Premier Wen led a large delegation to Pyongyang where he was warmly hosted by Kim Jong-il and proposed a comprehensive set of deals with North Korea, Following Wen’s visit, Kim Yang-gon, Pyongyang’s official in charge of inter-Korean relations, visited China. President Hu Jintao reportedly extended a formal invitation to Kim Jong-il to visit China "at a convenient time" at his meeting with Choe Thae-bok, secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee and one of Kim’s closest aides.