Chinese government's special envoy Tang Jiaxuan on Sunday attended the state funeral for the late former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung at the nation's parliament.
During his stay in South Korea, Tang met with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and conveyed to him sincere regards and best wishes from Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Tang expressed deep condolences over the death of former President Kim and sincere sympathies to his family.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (C) meets with Chinese special envoy Tang Jiaxuan at the Seigadai Palace in Seoul, Aug 23, 2009. Tang Jiaxuan will attend the state funeral for Kim Dae-jung in Seoul. [Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua]
Tang said President Kim was a good friend of the Chinese people and made important contributions to promoting the development of the China-South Korea relations, which the Chinese government and people will never forget.
President Kim actively devoted himself to inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation and also to peace and development in the region, which has won high praise from the international community, Tang said.
Noting the smooth development of bilateral relations thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, Tang said the top leaders of the two countries exchanged visits last year and the two sides established a strategic cooperative partnership, marking a new stage in the development of bilateral ties, Tang said.
China is ready to work with South Korea to strengthen communication and expand mutually beneficial cooperation so as to continue to enrich the content of the bilateral strategic partnership and push for fast and stable growth of bilateral ties, Tang said.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak expressed thanks for Tang's attendance at Kim's funeral.
After former President Kim passed away, Chinese leaders sent messages of condolences, for which people from all walks of life in South Korea express deep gratitude, Lee said.
He asked Tang to convey his best regards and wishes to President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (R) shakes hands with Chinese special envoy Tang Jiaxuan at the Seigadai Palace in Seoul, Aug. 23, 2009. Tang Jiaxuan will attend the state funeral for Kim Dae-jung in Seoul. [Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua]
Lee said his country attaches great importance to its relations with China. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, remarkable progress has been made in cooperation between the two countries in various areas, economic cooperation in particular, he said.
South Korea will join hands with China to make continued efforts to strengthen cooperation in regional and international affairs and further enrich the content of the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries, he said.
President Kim died of pneumonia-related complications on Tuesday after he was admitted to a Seoul hospital on July 13.
The funeral came after a six-day mourning period, during which praise and condolences for the late president flooded in from around the world.
The state funeral for the late former President Kim Dae-jung was held at the nation's parliament Sunday afternoon with some 24,000 politicians, citizens and foreign delegates invited to the ceremony.
Some 100,000 South Koreans gathered around the nation's parliament to bid last farewell to the late former president.
(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2009)