Chinese 'power microbloggers' to visit S. Korea this week

SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- A group of Chinese public figures with a strong presence online will visit South Korea this week at Seoul's invitation as part of its efforts to boost bilateral communication and exchanges between the two countries' citizenries, the foreign ministry said Monday.

The ministry, in cooperation with China's investment holding firm Tencent Holdings Ltd., will invite 10 Chinese celebrities, who boast of a strong presence on social networking services, for six days from Tuesday, as part of the Seoul government's drive to strengthen public diplomacy.

The list of invitees includes real estate tycoon Ren Zhiqiang, who has more than 15 million followers on Tencent Weibo, the Chinese microblogging website, and gymnast Chen Yibing with 8.69 million followers.

During the stay, they plan to meet officials of the ministry and the National Assembly, travel headquarters and factories of major South Korean companies including Samsung Electronics Co. and Kia Motors Corp., as well as visit historic sites such as the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas, the ministry said.

Detailed schedules and their personal feelings will be shared with the public instantly via their Weibo accounts, it added.

"The event will be one of the key programs that materialize the joint statement between two countries during the summit last week," the ministry said in a statement.

In a joint statement on their future vision adopted on June 27 by South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the two countries agreed to enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges in diverse forms so as to promote mutual understanding and trust, fostering stable long-term relations.

"The ministry will strive to create a desirable national image by launching diverse social network-based programs and inviting more influential foreign figures," the ministry added.

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