[EDITORIALS]Friends, neighbors, partners

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[EDITORIALS]Friends, neighbors, partners

South Korea and China celebrate Saturday the 10th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. As of last year, trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $35 billion and 2 million people travel between the two countries every year. For the last decade, South Korea and China have become closer neighbors and partners.

In the areas of politics, diplomacy and military, the two countries have steadily built trust. In 2000, the two governments issued a declaration of friendly and cooperative partners; the relationship will most likely improve in quality at a fast pace.

But to establish a true partnership and improve understanding and trust as reliable members of the international community many improvements are needed.

First, China should expand its role as a mediator of inter-Korean issues and a stabilizer of the peninsula's peace. Until now, China had been considerate in resolving the North Korean defector issues despite difficulties. Beijing has served as a mediator in the search for common ground between the two Koreas. We urge China to play a more active role to contribute to opening North Korea and persuading the reclusive state to join international society by applying established international standards.

In terms of economics, China and South Korea must promote their open partnerships to develop Northeast Asia in the 21st century and expand markets. Japan is currently in a long-term recession. China has emerged as a new factory not for Asia but for the world. South Korea and China must work to establish a "win-win" strategy and foster the Northeast Asian region as a place of stability and prosperity. To this end, mutual trust and respect are vital.

In the turmoil of the rapidly changing international affairs of the new century, China and South Korea are important strategic partners, taking into account the geographical and historical background.

It is, thus, important to pay serious attentions to the investments in the future, instead of being content with the achievements of the past decade.
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