|China's President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with South Korea's President Park Geun-hye in front of Chinese and South Korean national flags during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People, on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings, in Beijing, November 10, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
BEIJING - China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have concluded substantive negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), the two heads of state announced here Monday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his ROK counterpart Park Geun-hye confirmed the conclusion of the talks in a meeting Monday on the sidelines of the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.
They also witnessed the signing of the minutes of the meeting by Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and ROK's Trade Minister Yoon Sang-jick on behalf of the two governments.
China and the ROK officially launched FTA talks in May 2012. Earlier reports said leaders of the two countries had announced in July that they would try to conclude the negotiations by the end of 2014.
China is already the ROK's largest trading partner and largest market for Korean exports, while ROK is China's third most important trading partner and was the fifth biggest source of foreign investment in 2013.
Two-way trade totaled $274 billion last year, and the leaders have promised a rise to $300 billion by 2015.
Park Geun-hye arrived in Beijing Sunday to attend the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting slated for Nov 10-11.