Park to visit Xi’an on China trip

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Park to visit Xi’an on China trip

As part of her state visit to China next week, President Park Geun-hye will visit Xi’an, an emerging cultural, industrial and educational center in the central-northwest region. It will mark the first time a Korean president has visited the city.

The Blue House announced yesterday Park’s itinerary for the four-day trip to China, which will begin Thursday. For the first three days, Park will visit Beijing and meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders, and then move on to Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, on June 29, Kim Haing, presidential spokeswoman, said yesterday.

While Park’s visit to Beijing is expected to focus on some sensitive issues, including the North’s nuclear arms program and the Korea-China free trade agreement, her trip to Xi’an will focus on promoting business cooperation with the emerging industrial city and cultural exchanges between Korea and China.

According to Kim, Park chose Xi’an as another destination because of its significance as a city that represents China’s past, present and future.

“It is the foothold of the grand development of China’s west and one of the three educational hubs of China,” Kim said. The ancient city with 3,000 years of history is the starting point of the Silk Road.

Kim said Xi’an is a stronghold of South Korea’s economic cooperation.

“Many Korean companies have already entered the city and more will do so in the future,” Kim said. “In the long-term, Xi’an will serve as Korean companies’ forward base to expand their businesses to Europe and Central Asia.”

With the Chinese government’s project to narrow down the economic gap between China’s east and west under the Great Western Development Strategy, Xi’an has emerged as an important industrial hub since 2000. It is a transportation hub where China’s east and west meets and the Chinese government has promoted high-technology industry in the city.

During her visit to Xi’an, Park will tour Korean companies operating in the area, Kim said. Park also will meet with leaders of Shaanxi’s provincial government and discuss Korea’s efforts to expand cooperation with the region.

Samsung Electronics invested $7 billion to build a semiconductor plant and the construction is currently ongoing. Completion is expected by the end of this year and about 160 Korean suppliers to Samsung Electronics are operating in the area.

LG Corporation, Simmtech, SK Telecom, KMW and Dasan Networks also have business in the region.

The city also operates the High-Tech Industries Development Zone, and about 16,000 electronics, communications, software, auto components and bio companies from China and other countries, including Korea, are operating in the special industrial zone.

The visit to Xi’an is expected to encourage bilateral economic cooperation and cultural exchange, and strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries, Kim said, adding that the trip will support Park’s philosophy to achieve Korea’s economic revival and cultural prosperity.

During her visit to Xi’an, Park will also meet with Korean residents of the area and visit a historic heritage site.

The city is also known as the political hometown of Chinese President Xi. Although the Chinese leader was born in Beijing in 1958, his political career was bolstered in Shaanxi Province. The province is also the ancestral hometown of Xi as his father, former vice premier Xi Zhongxun, was born in the area.

Kim also said the Blue House decided to add Xi’an to Park’s itinerary for the need to diversify the regions that Korean presidents visit during trips to China because the past trips focused on China’s eastern area.

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