Selin ATAY-TDO- South Korea stated on Saturday it held talks with China’s top diplomat over trade, denuclearization and the COVID-19 response, in the first visit by a high-level Beijing official since the coronavirus pandemic erupted.

According to statement issued by the South Korean government, the member of the Communist Party Politburo Yang Jiechi met with South Korea’s new national security adviser Suh Hoon in the southern port city of Busan.

The two sides discussed topics including accelerating free-trade agreement negotiations, expanding cultural exchanges as well as the election of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General, according to a statement issued by South Korea’s presidential Blue House spokesman Kang Min-seok.

Spokesman Min-seok added that Yang Jiechi addressed China’s position regarding the current U.S.-China relations and Suh in return emphasized the importance of cooperative U.S.-China relations for peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia. 

Spokesman said the two countries agreed to make Xi’s visit to South Korea happen promptly once the coronavirus situation stabilized. Kang also added that China called South Korea a priority for President Xi to visit.

The diplomatic talks come after the coronavirus pandemic had undercut bilateral exchanges and stalled denuclearisation negotiations involving Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

China and the South Korea resumed exchanges last month when Seoul sent a high-level diplomat for a bilateral economic meeting.

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