SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) — South Korea and China sought to expand their people-to-people ties Thursday as they held their third conference on public diplomacy.
The forum, established in 2013 under a summit agreement between Presidents Park Geun-hye and Xi Jinping, brought together some 200 people from both countries, representing the government, academia, civil society and the media.
The forum’s three sessions are expected to focus on ways to strengthen bilateral ties through public policy sharing, increased cultural exchanges and cooperation with the media.
In his welcoming remarks read by public diplomacy ambassador Choi Sung-joo, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se noted recent developments in bilateral ties, including Park’s visit to China in September and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Seoul last month.
The two countries have also worked together to expand people-to-people ties by holding joint conferences and signing agreements aimed at fostering their culture and arts industries, he said.
“This forum should become a laboratory where the two people themselves build the future they dream of,” Yun said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in remarks read by Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Qiu Guohong, pledged the two countries’ “positive role” in establishing regional peace in a future-oriented manner with a clear recognition of history.
South Korea and China have long been at odds with Japan over interpretations of their shared history.
“There is a saying in China that a neighbor nearby is better than a relative far away,” he said. “I would like our two peoples’ friendship to become even stronger. This will be the foundation for the beautiful future of our two countries.”