S. Korea's vice FM to visit China next week

BEIJING, July 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul will visit China early next week as part of Seoul's efforts to develop a peace initiative for Northeast Asia, a diplomat said Thursday.

Cho is scheduled to arrive in Beijing next Monday for a two-day visit and meet with senior officials at China's Communist Party and foreign ministry, the diplomat at the South Korean Embassy in the Chinese capital said on the condition of anonymity.

The visit is partly aimed at asking China to send high-level officials to a forum to be hosted by South Korea in October for discussions on regional peace and cooperation, the diplomat said.

South Korea has been preparing to host what is called a "Track 1.5" meeting that includes a mix of government officials and experts from the United States, China, Japan, Russia and Mongolia.

The planned forum is a follow-up measure after President Park Geun-hye unveiled last year her peace vision for Northeast Asia.

President Park outlined the "Northeast Asian peace and cooperation initiative," a process that calls for countries in the region to overcome history and territorial tensions by building trust, first through cooperation on non-political issues before expanding cooperation to political and security matters.

Along with North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs, diplomatic friction between China and Japan has been also simmering in Northeast Asia.

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