By Jun Ji-hye
Chinese media expressed hopes Thursday that President Park Geun-hye's state visit will bolster economic and political ties between the two countries.
State-run news outlets stressed Park is the first among previous Korean presidents who chose to visit Beijing before Tokyo.
In an interview, The China Daily quoted Park as saying that Seoul and Beijing will outline a blueprint for common prosperity.
This is her first visit to China since taking office and her second overseas trip, following a visit to the United States last month, it reported.
"I will work with President Xi Jinping during my visit to outline a new blueprint for the common prosperity of South Korea and China looking to the next two decades," Park said.
"We will have in-depth discussions about how to give concrete substance to the South Korea-China strategic cooperative partnership; how to work together for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia; and how to promote bilateral cooperation on the international stage."
Park, who is familiar with Chinese culture and speaks fluent Mandarin, said she is "filled with special emotion" about the visit in her capacity as president, though she has visited China on several occasions.
The Beijing Morning Post also reported, "Not also is President Park fluent in Chinese, but also she likes Chinese history and philosophy. She can sing Chinese hit songs ‘Tian Mi Mi' and ‘Ye Lai Xiang' as well."
Deng Lijun, a singer of the two songs, is one of the most popular singers in China.
The daily mentioned Park's autobiography published in 2007 where she stated the person she fell in love with for the first time was Zhao Yun, general of Shu in "Romance of the Three Kingdoms," or "Samgukji," the timeless Chinese historical saga dealing with the power struggles of ancient Chinese warlords.
"She soothed her mind by reading the Analects of Confucius and other classic Chinese books when her father, the late President Park Chung-hee, was assassinated by his intelligence chief in 1979," the newspaper reported.
Ta Kung Pao, a Hong Kong-based newspaper, expressed expectation for Park's planned lecture at a university in Beijing.
"Chinese people expect Park to give a lecture in Chinese while wearing Korean traditional clothing. Park's visit will be a great leap forward for the two countries' cultural exchanges."
Huanqiu, another state-run newspaper, said the South Korean President's visit with a 71 member economic delegation, the largest ever, will open a honeymoon period between Beijing and Seoul.
"Following her election, Park sent a special envoy to China first before Washington," said the Xinhua News Agency.
News outlets also reported on recent opinion polls in which 83 percent of Korean citizens said Seoul-Beijing relations are more important than Seoul-Tokyo relations, and 63.6 percent said they were in favor of a Free Trade Agreement between Korea and China.
Beijing's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying earlier called Park China's old friend during a regular briefing last week.