China, S. Korea to hold maritime border talks

SEOUL/BEIJING • South Korea and China will hold talks next week aimed at resolving the issue of their overlapping exclusive economic zones, media reports said.

The talks in Seoul next Tuesday will be led by South Korea's Second Vice-Foreign Minister Cho Tae Yul and Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, Yonhap news agency reported yesterday, citing South Korea's Foreign Ministry.

China's Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying as telling a routine press briefing: "To solve the maritime demarcation issue through negotiations is of great significance in maintaining China-ROK (Republic of Korea) maritime stability and cementing cooperation."

South Korea wants the maritime border to be equidistant from the two countries' coastlines, while China claims it should be drawn at a distance proportionate to the length of their respective coastlines, Yonhap noted.

The two countries have regularly held working-level talks on the boundary issue since 1996 but have failed to reach an agreement, it said.

South Korean President Park Geun Hye and her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed during Mr Xi's visit in July last year to launch negotiations this year on the demarcation of their maritime boundaries.

China hopes its negotiations with its neighbour will set an example for regional countries to solve similar issues, Ms Hua said, according to Xinhua.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2015, with the headline 'China, S. Korea to hold maritime border talks'. Print Edition | Subscribe