August 26, 2008

Chinese President Meets South Korean Business Leaders

Text of report in English by South Korean news agency Yonhap

[Yonhap headline: "China's Hu Meets S. Korean Business Leaders"]

Seoul, Aug. 26 (Yonhap) - Chinese President Hu Jintao met South Korean business leaders on Tuesday on his final leg of a two-day visit here.

About 200 South Korean businesspeople, including Hyundai Motor Co. Chairman Chung Mong-koo and POSCO Co. Chairman Lee Ku-taek, attended a luncheon meeting with the Chinese president.

"Since South Korea and China established diplomatic ties in 1992, the two nations have expanded cooperation in all fields including politics, economy and culture," said Yi Hu'i-po'm [Lee Hee-beom], chairman of Korea International Trade Association, a government-run trade body that jointly organized the meeting.

"We strongly support the expansion of ties in energy, high technology, trade and investment agreed on at summits between the leaders of South Korea and China," Lee said.

On Monday, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak [Yi Myo'ng-pak] and China's Hu agreed to strengthen their cooperation in political, economic and other fields.

China is South Korea's largest trading partner, with two-way trade totalling US$145 billion in 2007, according to the South Korean trade ministry.

At the summit, the leaders of South Korea and China said they aim to boost bilateral trade to $200 billion by 2010, two years ahead of a previous target.

South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy, has been in preliminary discussions with China to start negotiations to sign a free trade pact.

Hu was reportedly slated to leave for Tajikistan on Tuesday to attend a security summit meeting with Russia and Central Asian nations.

Originally published by Yonhap news agency, Seoul, in English 0202 26 Aug 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.