Prime Minister Han Duck-soo departed for the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou on Saturday to attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games and meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the sporting event, his office said.
During his two-day visit, Han is expected to attend a luncheon hosted by Xi for the leaders of countries competing in the Asian Games and hold talks with Xi ahead of the opening ceremony later in the day.
The exact time, venue and agenda for their meeting are being discussed.
Han will be the first high-level South Korean official to meet with Xi since President Yoon Suk Yeol met with him on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2022.
During the meeting, Han is expected to convey Seoul's initiatives to arrange a trilateral summit involving Japan and China, and extend an invitation to Xi for a visit to South Korea, a proposal previously made by Yoon during the November meeting.
Han is accompanied by First Vice Foreign Minister Chang Ho-jin and Vice Culture Minister Jang Mi-ran, a former Olympic gold medalist in weightlifting.
Han earlier told reporters that Seoul is committed to maintaining an amicable relationship with Beijing, emphasizing that his upcoming trip to the Asian Games aims to demonstrate Seoul's dedication to enhancing South Korea-China relations.
South Korea has usually sent the culture minister to such events. (Yonhap)