President's RoK visit marks major breakthrough in bilateral relations: RoK Minister

The upcoming state visit to the Republic of Korea (RoK) by Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc will be a big breakthrough in the relationship between the two countries, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RoK Park Jin has affirmed.

President Phuc and a high-ranking delegation will pay a state visit to the RoK from December 4-6 at the invitation of RoK President Yoon Suk-yeol.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency ahead of the visit, FM Park said he expects that the two Presidents will discuss and agree on new orientations for the bilateral ties on this occasion.  

The minister stressed that ASEAN has been identified as the most important region in the RoK’s Indo-Pacific strategy, and Vietnam is a very important partner of the East Asian nation. 
 
Park expressed his hope that the ASEAN-RoK Solidarity Initiative will be concretised and materialised via cooperation between Vietnam and the RoK in the time ahead.  

The minister pointed to the reciprocal economic structures and similarities in history and culture between the two countries as the foundation for their collaboration, adding that Vietnam is the RoK’s fourth largest trade partner while the RoK is the third biggest trade partner of the Southeast Asian nation.

The two-way trade exceeded US$80 billion in 2021, up about 160 times as compared with the figure in 1992 when the two countries established diplomatic ties, he said, regarding this as a rare breakthrough in the bilateral relationship.

More than 8,000 Korean firms are operating and investing in Vietnam, the minister continued, pledging that the RoK Government will further support Vietnam’s development.

Pointing to challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties in the global supply chain, he suggested the two countries work together to overcome them.

In the context of economic security cooperation to stabilise and restore supply chains playing an increasingly important role, it is time for Vietnam and the RoK to further boost their economic links, he stressed.

In particular, both the RoK and Vietnam are engaging in discussions about the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) there will be plenty of opportunities for cooperation, he said, noting his belief that the two countries will step up cooperation in the future to create economic standards in the region.

He also suggested the two countries cooperate in mining and expand collaboration in renewable energy, because Vietnam has many important minerals including rare earth and at the same time is leading in renewable energy. 

As the two countries are working to advance their relations, high-level dialogue channels will be stepped up and more support will be provided for Korean investors in Vietnam to expand collaboration in digital technology, renewable energy and high-tech between the two countries, he said.

With more than 150,000 Koreans living in Vietnam and over 200,000 Vietnamese in the RoK, the two countries should work to restore and expand people-to-people exchanges after the pandemic.

He called for greater efforts to make Vietnamese and Koreans, especially young generations, understand more about each other, saying cultural exchanges will be enhanced through digital platforms.

Recalling his visit to Vietnam last October, the minister said what he saw in Vietnam reflect its potential for stable development despite difficulties caused by the pandemic.

According to the official, during his meetings with President Phuc, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, the two sides discussed cooperation formats to tighten the partnership in the time ahead.

It is time for the two countries to come closer together and build a stronger mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership, he said.

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