Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) shaking hands with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi before their talks at the foreign ministry in Seoul on Dec. 4, 2019. (Yonhap)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to arrive in Seoul on Wednesday for talks with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and others, as US President-elect Joe Biden envisions solidifying America's democratic alliances to reassert its global leadership.
After his two-day trip to Japan, Wang is scheduled to fly in amid expectations that he could use the trip to try to bring South Korea closer to its side as a strategic rivalry between Washington and Beijing is expected to continue under the Biden administration.
Wang's trip has taken on geopolitical overtones, as Biden has vowed to rally America's allies and other partners for a global "Summit for Democracy" to shore up multilateralism and confront international challenges, possibly including China's growing assertiveness.
Kang and Wang plan to hold talks on Thursday to discuss bilateral high-level exchanges, the situations on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, pending global issues and other matters of mutual concern, the foreign ministry said.
The agenda for their talks is likely to include the countries' efforts to arrange a visit to South Korea by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Seoul's push to host a trilateral summit among the leaders of South Korea, China and Japan.
Chinese Ambassador to Seoul Xing Haiming has said that Xi's trip to Seoul will come when the COVID-19 pandemic levels off, but a third wave of the virus outbreak has darkened the prospects of Xi making an early trip here.
Kang and Wang could also exchange views on North Korea-related issues, economic cooperation and joint efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wang is also expected to meet other government and ruling party officials, including former Democratic Party chief Lee Hae-chan, presidential security adviser Moon Chung-in and Rep. Song Young-gil, chairman of the National Assembly's foreign affairs committee.
Wang was initially expected to visit Seoul last month, but he apparently delayed his trip, presumably due to a key Communist Party meeting late last month and the US presidential election.
Wang last visited Seoul in December last year. (Yonhap)