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Blinken Supports Efforts Toward 'Mature' China-South Korea Ties

SEOUL - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he supports South Korea's efforts to develop a 'healthy and mature' cooperative relationship with China, South Korea's foreign ministry said Saturday.

Blinken, who arrives in Beijing on Sunday for the highest-level visit by an official of U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, discussed bilateral relations, relations between China and South Korea, and North Korea in a call with South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, the ministry said Saturday in a statement.

Blinken and Park strongly condemned what they consider North Korea's repeated provocations, the ministry said, and agreed the U.S., South Korea and Japan should continue to urge China to play a constructive role in the U.N. Security Council on denuclearization. The statement did not elaborate.

U.S. officials say they do not expect Blinken's trip to China, the first by a secretary of state in five years, to yield a breakthrough in how Washington and Beijing deal with each other. Blinken said Friday the trip was aimed at establishing 'open and empowered' communications.