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AKIPRESS.COM - Upon arrival in Seoul on Thursday, President Xi Jinping said he looked forward to exchanging in-depth views with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and jointly mapping out the future of bilateral cooperation.
Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan received a red-carpet reception and were greeted by a 21-gun salute at the airport. This is Xi's first visit to South Korea since taking office last year.
China attaches great importance to the relationship with South Korea and would like to work together to improve the strategic cooperative partnership, Xi said in a speech.
Xi hailed the South Korean people's pursuit of a "Second Miracle on the Han River" and a new era of national happiness, saying it's a society full of vitality and energy as well as a country with an increasing international influence. "Second Miracle on the Han River" is a nod to the economic "miracle" Park's father set in motion more than three decades ago. Park is the daughter of Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea for 18 years until his assassination in 1979.
Accompanied by a large business delegation, the tightly scheduled trip focuses primarily on economic and strategic communication amid a changing situation in northeast Asia, diplomats from both countries said.
According to Aju Business Daily in Seoul, the delegation of more than 250 businessmen, the largest from China to South Korea, included several tycoons such as Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, and Robin Li, founder and CEO of Nasdaq-listed Baidu.
Xi and Park are scheduled to hold a summit meeting on Thursday, before Xi meets with South Korean National Assembly Speaker Chung Ui-hwa and Prime Minister Chung Hong-won on Friday.
Xi will also deliver a speech at Seoul National University and attend a business forum co-hosted by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, South Korean media reported.
More than 170 leading South Korean businessmen will attend the forum, including Hyundai Motor Group's chief Chung Mong-koo and LG Group's head Koo Bon-moo.
South Korea boasts many innovative companies that have established a global reputation such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai and its economy has been synonymous with the Asian boom.
Chinese enterprises can learn from this spirit of innovation, Zha Daojiong, a professor at the School of International Studies under Peking University told Xinhua News Agency.
China is South Korea's largest trading partner and its leading export destination and source of imports. Two-way trade hit $274.2 billion in 2013, a 55-fold increase since 1992 when diplomatic ties were established.
In a separate schedule, first lady Peng will visit sites of national significance, including palaces in Seoul, and enjoy various traditional cultural activities, the Korea Times reported.