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ROK President Arrives in Beijing
The Republic of Korea (ROK) President Roh Moo-hyun arrived in Beijing Monday morning for a four-day state visit to China as guest of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Hu and Roh will hold talks later Monday to exchange views on bilateral ties, international and regional issues of common concern.

This will be the first meeting between Hu and Roh since they assumed office.

Before Roh Moo-hyun left for Beijing, he expressed his hope to strengthen amicable relations with the world largest population.

He also expected that China will continue playing its constructive role to persuade the parties in the nuclear issue of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to return to the negotiating table.

China is Roh Moo-hyun's third foreign country he traveled to in the four months after he inaugurated as the top leader of South Korea. He had made visits to the United States and Japan respectively in May and June.

The ROK-China relations have been developed smoothly since the two neighboring countries established diplomatic ties in 1992. Roh's current visit will highlight bilateral exchanges, which have been increased rapidly.

Trade volume between the two countries rocketed to US$44.07 last year, eight times of that in 1992. In the first five months of this year, the figure reached a new high record of US$22.7 billion, rising 44.5 percent against the same period of 2002.

As of May, South Korea's exports to China reached US$12.39 billion, a 48.3 percent rise from the same period a year ago despite the impact of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

China has replaced Japan, becoming South Korea's third largest export destination, while South Korea is the fifth largest export market of China.

South Korean enterprises have shown great interests in the China's huge market, which has already turned to be the largest target of South Korean investment. In the first quarter of 2003, South Korean corporations injected US$310 million into the charming market, uprushing 66 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, South Korean films and popular music have lots of fans in China, while South Korean students are keen to learn Chinese language.

Over 22,000 South Korean students are pursuing degrees in various Chinese universities and 3,000 Chinese young people are studying in South Korean colleges.

"It's seldom that only in a 10-year span, relations between the two countries can develop so widely, deeply and rapidly," President Roh Moo-hyun has said.

"I desperately want to meet Chinese leaders during my visit, to discuss economic and trade cooperation," Roh said, outlining agenda of his China trip.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi greeted Roh Moo-hyun at the airport. Roh's entourage included his wife Kwon Yang-sook, 15 senior ROK officials and 30 entrepreneurs.

Also on Roh Moo-hyun's agenda in the Chinese capital will be meetings with other Chinese leaders, a speech at Tsinghua University, and a visit to a Beijing-based ROK car manufacture plant.

Besides Beijing, Roh Moo-hyun is scheduled to visit China's financial hub Shanghai.

(Xinhua News Agency July 7, 2003)

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