Ministry establishes organization to study China

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Ministry establishes organization to study China

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade opened its first research organization studying China yesterday, amid Seoul’s growing interest in and alarm over the fast rise of its powerful neighbor. The Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (Ifans), an affiliate of the ministry, said yesterday it has opened the Ifans China Center at its base in Yangjae, southern Seoul.

The center was established “to bolster research activity on China’s rise as a global power in the 21st century and support the government’s diplomacy toward China on multiple fronts,” an Ifans official said.

Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan made a congratulatory keynote speech during the inaugurating ceremony held at the Ifans, followed by a lecture on South Korea-China relations made by the former ambassador to China, Chung Jong-wook.

Several other government figures and scholars, including Vice Foreign Minister Shin Kak-soo and Zhu Feng, international relations professor at Peking University, later discussed a future course for the two countries in a round-table discussion.

At the ceremony, Shin Jeong-seung, another former ambassador to China, was appointed as the first director of the Ifans China Center.

Shin said he will try to expand cooperation between the center and other China research agencies at home and abroad and foster an international research hub for China. South Korea and China, which established bilateral diplomatic ties in 1992, upgraded bilateral relations to a strategic cooperative partnership in 2008. A combined 5 million or so South Koreans and Chinese visited each other’s country last year.

By Moon Gwang-lip []

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