South Korea and China have agreed to establish a consular hotline to protect rights of their citizens who are staying in the other country, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday. The decision came in the 14th bilateral meeting of consular chiefs in Beijing.
"A growing number of Koreans and Chinese are arrested or detained in the other country as visitor numbers rise," a ministry official said. "We agreed to open the consular hotline to consult more quickly on such matters."
Seoul also urged Beijing to take "responsible" steps over torture allegations by South Korean activist Kim Young-hwan, who was held in China for 114 days.
The two countries also agreed to resume talks about a consular agreement as soon as possible. But differences remain. Seoul objects to China's treatment of North Korean defectors, and Beijing is asking Seoul to list Taiwanese Koreans who reside here as "Chinese" when classifying their origin, reflecting the fact that China does not recognize Taiwan.