China - Korea

Chronology from Jan 2005 to Mar 2005

: ROK Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung visits China to meet with PRC counterparts and tour major Chinese military facilities.

: Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance, South Korea’s largest non-life insurer, becomes the world’s first insurance company to establish a subsidiary in China, according to the ROK Financial Supervisory Commission.

: South Korean President Roh declares that South Korea will play a “‘balancing role’ to help ensure peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia and on the Korean Peninsula,” possibly signaling a shift away from the U.S. and toward China.

: DPRK PM Pak Bong-Ju embarks on a week-long visit to China at the invitation of counterpart PRC PM Wen Jiabao.  PM Pak is reported to have brought an invitation for PRC President Hu to visit the DPRK later this year.

: President Roh Moo-hyun in a speech at the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony clarifies that South Korea will not allow U.S. troops to become involved in any dispute in Northeast Asia without the consent of the government.

: Chinese chief negotiator Wu Dawei holds meetings in Seoul with South Korea’s FM Ban Ki-moon, Vice FM Song Min-soon, and Unification Minister Chung Dong-young in a drive to get North Korea back to the negotiating table. Ambassador Wu also meets Ambassador Chris Hill, newly appointed senior U.S. representative to the Six-Party Talks.

: Jiang Zhiwei, of the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation that recently took over Ssangyong Motors, announces that Ssangyong has successfully completed the restructuring process, and is ready to become a top automaker in Asia.

: Taiwanese airlines, including China Airlines, EVA Air, Far Eastern Air Transport, TransAsia Airways, and UNI Airways, resume regular flights to South Korean cities, ending 13 years of suspended service.

: South Korea, the U.S. and Japan meet to discuss North Korea’s suspension of participation in Six-Party Talks, compare notes on the visit of Wang Jiarui to Pyongyang, and urge China to step up efforts to persuade Pyongyang to return to the talks.

: Finance officials from China, Japan, and South Korea meet counterparts from ASEAN to discuss ways to counteract the weak dollar.

: PRC CCP international liaison department head Wang Jiarui meets with Kim Jong-il and other top North Korean officials to discuss the North Korean nuclear standoff and DPRK reluctance to return to the Six-Party Talks. He delivers a letter from Hu Jintao on China’s policy objectives and the Six-Party Talks.

: ROK Deputy FM Song Min-soon travels to Beijing for consultations with his counterpart, PRC Ambassador Wu Dawei.  Newly appointed envoy for Six-Party Talks Ambassador Chris Hill has separate consultations in Beijing with Wu.

: ROK ambassador to the PRC Kim Ha-joong says in Seoul that China has bigger influence than others might expect on North Korea, if it is willing to use that influence to settle the North Korean nuclear issue.

: ROK ruling Uri Party announces intent to sign a memorandum of understanding to increase cooperation with China’s Communist Party.

: Hyundai Motor announces it is working closely with 10 law firms in China to toughen its stance against copyright violations by Chinese automakers.

: KITA announces that China’s share of the Japanese import market soared to 20.7 percent last year from 14.5 percent in 2000, while South Korea’s share of Japan’s imports dropped from 5.4 percent in 2000 to 4.9 percent last year.

: DPRK announces the “indefinite suspension” of its participation in Six- Party Talks until conditions change, asserts it has “manufactured nuclear weapons.”

: Kyonggi Provincial Governor Sohn Hak-kyu announces that his provincial government will develop a multi-complex showbiz village called “Hallyu-wood,” to expand the current popularity of Korean culture sweeping Japan, China, and Southeast Asia.

: According to KITA, North Korea’s economic reliance on China grew last year, with bilateral trade between the two states hitting a record $1.38 billion, up 35.4 percent from a year earlier.

: ROK Deputy FM Song Min-soon meets with Chinese Ambassador Li and states Seoul’s objection to the fast return to the DPRK of Han Man-tack, a refugee from North Korea who also was a former South Korean soldier taken prisoner during the 1950-53 Korean War.

: KITA announces that Korea’s direct investment in China amounted to $6.25 billion last year, more than twice the $2.72 billion two years earlier.

: Ssangyong Motor, South Korea’s fourth-largest automaker, announces it will end its debt workout programs, five years after it fell into financial turmoil following the Asian economic crisis and following the successful purchase of Ssangyong by the Shanghai Automotive Group.

: Hyundai Heavy Industries announces it has won a contract to build the world’s largest container ships from China’s Cosco Asia, beginning the era of building container ships that can carry more than 10,000 TEUs of cargo.

: Seoul City Government announces its new Chinese name, “(soual),” which means “a leading city.” The name is intended to replace the traditional Chinese language reference for Seoul, “han-cheng.”

: Sohn Jin-bang, chief of LG Electronics’ Chinese holding company, states that LG Electronics will make a strong push to increase its electronic appliance sales in China by 50 percent from last year’s $10 billion.

: Opposition GNP accuses China of “diplomatic arrogance” for manhandling GNP lawmakers who tried to hold a news conference in Beijing, and demands the Roh government punish Seoul diplomats responsible for policy on Chinese affairs.

: South Korean Foreign Ministry summons Chinese Ambassador Li Bin and demands an explanation for Chinese actions in shutting down a news conference by ROK legislators at a Beijing hotel. The Chinese government says domestic law bans news conferences not approved in advance.

: As GNP lawmakers start a news conference in a Beijing hotel about North Korean refugees, microphones and lights are turned off and security officials charge in, pushing and shoving lawmakers and about 50 reporters out of the room.

: The Agricultural and Fishery Marketing Corp. (AFMC) announces that  kimchi imports surged by 152.9 percent to 72,600 tons in 2004 from 28,700 tons in 2003, hitting an all-time high, due mainly to rising demand for low-priced Chinese kimchi.

: Four lawmakers from the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) travel to Yanji in northern China, where North Korean agents allegedly abducted a South Korean pastor in 2000.

: Korea International Trade Association (KITA) announces that China either imposed import restricting measures or initiated antidumping investigations on 21 Korean items last year.

: Chinese premier Wen Jiabao praises Seoul’s approach toward the North Korean nuclear issue during a meeting in Jakarta on the sidelines of a tsunami relief conference with South Korea’s PM Lee Hae-chan. Suggesting closer bilateral cooperation, Wen also said Seoul’s “peace and prosperity” policy was “essential” to both peace on the Korean Peninsula and the success of the Six-Party Talks.

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