Translation key in Park-Xi talks

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Translation key in Park-Xi talks

BEIJING - Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping will use interpreters simultaneously during their 30-minute meeting, breaking away from using consecutive interpretation, a Korean diplomatic source told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday.

“There are so many issues to be discussed during the limited 30 minutes the two leaders have for the summit. [Those issues include] the Korea-China free trade agreement,” said the source, one of the government officials preparing for the talks. “The decision for a meeting based on simultaneous interpretation was made for the sake of saving time.”

This is the first time simultaneous interpretation will be used in a bilateral summit, although the method is often employed in multilateral summits. Normally, the leaders engaged in a bilateral summit use consecutive interpretation.

Whereas state leaders are generally given some time to prepare their next remarks under the consecutive-interpretation system, the simultaneous-interpretation system requires almost immediate questions and responses.

President Park arrived in Beijing yesterday for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, which kicks off her nine-day multilateral diplomatic itinerary across the region. The one-on-one meeting with the Chinese president is her first appointment in the Chinese capital. Korea is one of 16 countries gathered in Beijing for the annual multilateral meeting.

The Park-Xi meeting, the fifth since the Korean president took office in February 2013, looks like it will precede talks between the Chinese leader and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, which is most likely to take place on the sidelines of the APEC summit. It is anticipated that the meeting between Xi and Abe will thaw more than two years of strained relations between China and Japan.

The possibility of a Xi-Abe meeting gained momentum after China and Japan reached an agreement on Friday to boost high-level bilateral contact more than two years after Beijing froze ties amid a territorial dispute over islands in the East China Sea and Japan’s history of wartime aggression.

Separately, President Park is expected to sit down for a talk with U.S. President Barack Obama tomorrow in Beijing, according to a senior government official. “We are still coordinating the venue and the type of summit,” he said. “The president will likely meet Obama on Tuesday.”

Current plans have bilateral summits scheduled this week between Korea and China, Korea and the United States and China and the United States, one right after the other.

However, Park has no plans yet to hold talks with Abe, said Ju Chul-ki, the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security.

In addition, Park will have bilateral summits with the leaders of Australia, India, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the APEC conference. The East Asia Summit and the ASEAN+3 meeting will take place Wednesday and Thursday in Myanmar. The G-20 summit will be held on Saturday and Sunday in Australia.

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