Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and South Korean Commerce Minister Yoon Sang-jick signed the document in Seoul on Monday, with President Xi Jinping and Park Geun-hye sending letters expressing support and commitment to the deal. The agreement is even more important if it is seen as a stepping stone. China also wants to conclude a trilateral free trade agreement that binds itself, South Korea and Japan; The free trade agreement between China and South Korea is a useful element in this regard. More ambitious, Beijing hopes to conclude negotiations on the Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year, a trade deal that binds the 10 ASEAN member countries to China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand. RCEP is often read in direct opposition to the U.S. insistence on trans-Pacific partnership. The agreement was reached more than six months ago, in November 2014. . .