South Korea and China agreed Saturday to boost cooperation and communications on supply chains by setting up a new high-level consultative body, Seoul’s finance ministry said.
The agreement was made under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed during the 17th Korea-China Meeting on Economic Cooperation held virtually between South Korea’s Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho and He Lifeng, the minister in charge of China’s National Development and Reform Commission.
The MOU calls for the establishment of the new director-level group on supply chains to discuss related issues “in time” when any supply disruptions take place and to enhance policy consultations, according to the ministry.
It is the first MOU of its kind between the two neighbouring nations.
During the meeting, the two sides also signed a separate MOU that is meant to “practically” boost economic cooperation, and to jointly respond to global uncertainties through active exchanges and cooperation among their central and local governments, as well as their companies.
South Korea and China will hold a major annual economic cooperation event involving public and private entities starting this year, according to the MOU.
In addition, they vowed to revitalize their joint overseas projects in a separate MOU, including a joint gas field project in Mozambique.
The agreements came as South Korea has sought to maintain a strong economic partnership with China, its largest trading partner, amid continued supply chain disruptions around the world. South Korea is heavily dependent on China for supplies of raw materials and various industrial items.
Seoul, at the same time, has been working to bolster economic relations with the United States based on the longstanding security alliance amid the intensifying rivalry between Beijing and Washington.
“The two sides also vowed to strengthen cooperation in new industry fields, such as the hydrogen industry. South Korea asked for the Chinese government’s extra attention to ensure stable and predictable environments for corporate activities,” the ministry said in a release.
The ministers also vowed to make joint efforts for the development of their service industries by carrying out various joint research projects and deepening communications.
Seoul called for actual progress in their service and investment negotiations under the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), particularly in such sectors as cultural content and game industries, and China proposed stronger cooperation in healthcare and sporting fields, according to the ministry.
Choo also sought China’s support for South Korea’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo in Busan, according to the ministry. The Seoul government finalized detailed documents for the bid this week.
The previous session of the ministerial meeting was held in October 2020 via teleconferencing, and the next meeting will take place in South Korea in 2023, the ministry said.