China on Wednesday said President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) would chart a path for future bilateral ties.
"We expect this state visit to define the direction of future exchange and cooperation between China and the ROK, and further advance bilateral ties," a Chinese Foreign Ministry senior official said.
"The visit from August 25 to 26, three years after Hu's last tour to Seoul, will be of great significance to bilateral ties," he said.
Hu's visit comes when China-ROK relations were "in good shape," he added, citing frequent high-level visits, booming economic cooperation and active exchanges between the two peoples.
During ROK President Lee Myung-bak's visit to China in May, the two countries upgraded their relations to "strategic cooperative partnership," ushering in a new era of bilateral ties.
On the economic front, China was now the ROK's top trade partner, its biggest export market and largest investment destination. The ROK ranked third among China's trade partners and fourth among foreign-direct investors in the country.
The two nations had maintained good communications and coordination on international and regional issues, the official said.
Upon arriving in Seoul on Monday, Hu will meet with his ROK counterpart Lee Myung-bak, National Assembly's speaker Kim Hyong-o and Prime Minister Han Seung-soo. He will also attend a series of important events.
During his stay, China and the ROK are expected to sign a number of cooperation deals on energy savings, high-tech, economics, trade, education and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)