Premier Wen Jiabao left Beijing Tuesday morning for official visits to South Korea and Japan.
Wen is invited by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, respectively.
Among Wen's entourage are Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, head of the National Development and Reform Commission Ma Kai, Commerce Minister Bo Xilai, Cultural Minister Sun Jiazheng, Director of the Research Office of the State Council Wei Liqun.
Wen's visit to South Korea on Tuesday and Wednesday coincides with the China-South Korea Exchange Year, which includes 47 China-sponsored exchange programs.
He will hold talks with Roh and unveil the exchange year with South Korean leaders in Seoul.
Wen's three-day visit to Japan is the first of its kind by a Chinese premier in seven years.
Wen is expected to hold talks with Abe and meet with Emperor Akihito. He is scheduled to deliver a speech in the Japanese parliament.
Wen said in an interview with Japanese press last week that China and Japan will draft a joint document on building a strategic, mutually beneficial relationship.
He and Abe will co-chair a meeting in Tokyo to launch the high-level economic dialogue mechanism between China and Japan.
The Japan tour will also take Wen to the ancient capital of Kyoto, where he will visit a university.
(Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2007)