South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan will visit China next week for talks with his counterpart and other senior officials, the ministry said Tuesday, as the twocountries differ over how to deal with North Korea's uranium enrichment program.
During the March 28-30 trip, Kim will hold talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and pay a visit to Premier Wen Jiabao, the ministry said in a statement.
The agenda for Kim's discussions in Beijing will include ways to move relations between the two countries forward, major economic and trade issues as well as the North Korean nuclear standoff and other matters of regional and international cooperation, it said.
Kim's talks with Yang are expected to focus on how to cope with Pyongyang's uranium enrichment program as South Korea and the U.S. push for a U.N. Security Council presidential statement condemning the nuclear program amid Chinese opposition to the move.
Seoul and Washington want to get the Security Council to define the illicit nature of the uranium program before reopening the six-party talks with North Korea so as to prevent Pyongyang from claiming that the program is for peaceful purposes.
Beijing is concerned that U.N. condemnation of Pyongyang could aggravate tensions, and claims that the issue should be discussed at the nuclear talks involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S.
Kim and Yang met bilaterally in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto on Saturday on the sidelines of a three-way foreign ministers' meeting with Japan. But they failed to narrow their differences.
It will be Kim's first trip to China since taking office in October.
The ministry said Kim's visit is expected to further solidify relations between the two sides.