Prime Minister Han Duck-soo will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, later this week, an official said Friday.
Han will depart for China on Saturday to attend the opening ceremony, which is set to take place later in the day. The meeting with Xi is most likely to occur before the event.
"It has been confirmed that the meeting will take place, and we are currently finalizing the location and timing," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
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 had earlier told reporters that Seoul is committed to maintaining an amicable relationship with China, 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.
Seoul-Beijing relations have recently experienced some strain due to what critics describe as Yoon's efforts to bring South Korea closer to the United States and Japan, departing from the previous Moon Jae-in administration's greater emphasis on China. (Yonhap)