Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Chinese leader Xi Jinping wishes to visit South Korea at an appropriate time after the global coronavirus pandemic situation has "stabilized," China's top diplomat told his South Korean counterpart, according to Seoul.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his first phone call with new South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong Xi wants to visit Seoul after delays in 2020, South Korean news services Donga Ilbo and SBS reported Tuesday.
According to Seoul's foreign ministry, the two sides discussed "mutual interests, the regional situation and matters between South Korea and China."
Wang, who visited South Korea in November, said he hoped to "cultivate a good working relationship and friendship" with Chung to "further develop bilateral relations."
The phone call comes after months of discussions between Beijing and Seoul for a summit between Xi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Last year, South Korean government sources had said Xi's visit to the South could take place between September and November. The trip was subsequently canceled or postponed.
Tensions have lingered between the two countries after China enforced unofficial sanctions against Korea following Seoul's decision to deploy the U.S. missile defense system THAAD.
Last year, speculation rose in Seoul Xi could remove sanctions that may have severely restricted Chinese tourism to Korea and South Korean television programs in China.
South Korean companies in China were also targeted after THAAD deployment. South Korean supermarket chain Lotte Mart was forced to close stores after alleged boycotts in China. Lotte's parent company had offered its golf course in central South Korea as the site for THAAD in 2016.
South Korea was one of the first countries to report cases of the novel coronavirus last year, among Chinese travelers and incoming South Korean citizens from Wuhan.
According to SBS, Seoul and Beijing discussed the direction of Northeast Asian public health cooperation, under a new initiative that includes Japan.
China and South Korea normalized diplomatic ties in 1992.