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Chinese foreign minister to visit Seoul this week

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will visit Seoul this week to discuss bilateral relations and Korean Peninsula issues, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Monday.

The two-day official visit will start Thursday and include bilateral talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, the ministry said in a press release.

The two sides are expected to discuss ways to deepen the “strategic cooperative partnership” between their nations, Korean Peninsula issues, as well as other regional and global issues.

It will be Yang’s third visit to Seoul since the two countries agreed in 2010 to hold annual exchange visits between their foreign ministers. The countries this year mark the 20th anniversary of their establishing diplomatic relations.

The visit comes shortly after Seoul first started to openly urge Beijing to stop repatriating North Korean defectors caught in China. North Korean defectors who are sent back are feared to face harsh persecution and even execution.

China does not recognize North Korean border-crossers as refugees and would rather treat them as economic migrants. (Yonhap News)