(VEN) – The Republic of Korea (RoK) and Vietnam are preparing to mark the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.
The RoK and Vietnam have seen major advances during their 30-year relationship. Despite the complicated developments of the Covid-19 pandemic, bilateral relations remained dynamic.
In addition to phone calls and online exchanges, the two sides held high-level visits, such as those by Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien in December 2021. The RoK’s National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug and Foreign Ministers Kang Kyung-wha and Chung Eui-yong visited Vietnam in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Two-way trade reached US$70.38 billion by November 2021, an increase of 20 percent compared to the same period in 2020. Last year, the RoK was Vietnam’s second largest investor with total capital of US$7.4 billion, a year-on-year increase of 85 percent. The RoK remained Vietnam’s second biggest development assistance supplier after Japan with a commitment of US$1.5 billion in the 2016-2020 period. In particular, the Vietnamese community in the RoK (estimated at over 240,000 people) and about 200,000 RoK residents in Vietnam have made efforts to overcome difficulties, stabilize their lives and strengthen adaptation in the context of the pandemic.
The two countries have further strengthened coordination in multilateral forums, including ASEAN and regional multilateral mechanisms led by ASEAN, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, as well as in multilateral trade mechanisms, such as the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and even in sub-regional mechanisms in the Mekong area.
Targeting US$100 billion in trad
The 30th anniversary events were kicked off with a Feb. 9-11 visit by Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son to the RoK to attend the Ministerial Conference of the Southeast Asia Regional Program (SEARP), which is run by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
As part of his official visit to the country, Minister Son met the RoK’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki. Minister Son expressed his hope that the two sides would make effective use of cooperation and dialogue mechanisms on diplomacy, security-defense and economy-trade-investment; export more Vietnamese goods to the RoK; promote the RoK’s investment in Vietnam; and strengthen technology transfer.
They agreed to effectively carry out the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA) to raise bilateral trade to US$100 billion by 2023 and US$150 billion by 2030, while strengthening cooperation in healthcare, culture, education, tourism, labor and people-to-people exchanges, and maintaining coordination in multilateral forums and in regional and international issues of shared concern.
The RoK presented Vietnam with more than 1.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, while RoK businesses and friendship organizations contributed over US$20 million to Vietnam’s vaccine fund.
Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tung said the two countries are preparing varied activities to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, including state-level visits and events and exchanges of high-level greetings on the anniversary date of December 22. They are also expected to upgrade bilateral relations on the anniversary from a bilateral strategic partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
Friendship associations and localities in both countries will also organize commemorative and exchange activities, cultural promotion, art performances and sports competitions.