China seriously considering visit to Seoul by Xi in first half of next year: Seoul official

SEOUL-- China is seriously considering President Xi Jinping making a state visit to South Korea in the first half of next year, a foreign ministry official quoted Chinese officials Thursday as saying.

The ministry official made the remark one day after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and discussed the possibility of Xi visiting South Korea.

"In response to our invitation for President Xi Jinping to pay a state visit to South Korea and to our hope for that to happen at an early date, the Chinese side told us that they are seriously considering President Xi paying a state visit in the first half of next year," the official told reporters.

Seoul has been seeking to arrange Xi's trip here, which would reciprocate President Moon Jae-in's visit to Beijing in December 2017. The Chinese leader last visited Seoul in July 2014.

When asked whether Moon would meet bilaterally with Xi in Chengdu, China, on the sidelines of a planned trilateral summit between the South's president, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe late this month, the official said, "We are in consultations and will announce it when the decision is made."

Wang paid a courtesy call on Moon at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul earlier in the day.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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