Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tu (Photo: VNA)
The relationship between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) has recorded strong development in all spheres since the two countries established diplomatic ties 27 years ago.
Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tu made the comment in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) ahead of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s trip to the RoK from November 24-28 to attend the ASEAN-RoK Commemorative Summit and the first Mekong-RoK Summit, whilst paying an official visit to the country.
With total registered capital of more than 66 billion USD, Korean firms are playing an active role in major economic sectors in Vietnam such as garment-textile, real estate, infrastructure, energy, electronics, auto, finance and banking, he said.
Vietnam is one of the two countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), together with Singapore, to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the RoK, he said, adding that two-way trade reached 65.7 billion USD in 2018, making up about 40 percent of the accumulative trade value between the RoK and the bloc.
The ambassador praised the Korean business community for playing a pioneering role in investment cooperation while contributing to promoting the bilateral relationship.
Cultural and people-to-people exchanges have also taken big strides over the years on the basis of similar cultures and histories, Tu said.
According to the ambassador, more than 180,000 Vietnamese are living, working and studying in the RoK. Meanwhile, the number of Koreans in Vietnam stands at 160,000.
The two countries have closely cooperated at international organisations and multilateral forums like the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the Asia-Europe Meeting, as well as regional cooperation mechanisms such as the Mekong-RoK, ASEAN-RoK, ASEAN Plus Three, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and East Asia Summit (EAS).
Apart from collaboration on regional and global issues like sustainable development, climate change combat and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Vietnam and the RoK have exchanged views on other matters regarding the settlement of territorial and island disputes through peaceful measures, the observance of international law, and respect for and protection of freedom of aviation and navigation in Asia-Pacific.
The ambassador said PM Phuc’s trip to the RoK takes place at a time when relations between the ASEAN and the RoK, Mekong countries and the RoK, and the Vietnam-RoK strategic cooperative partnership are developing fruitfully in all fields.
There is still much room for Vietnam and the RoK to deepen and expand their cooperation, he said, stressing that Vietnam always attaches importance to and wishes to enhance all-round collaboration and friendship with the East Asian country.
Vietnam is considered one of the top prioritised partners in the RoK’s New Southern Policy, he said.
Tu expressed his belief that with thorough preparations, the PM’s trip will be a success, contributing to consolidating political trust between high-ranking leaders of Vietnam and the RoK, and tightening the friendship between their people.
The trip will also offer an opportunity for the leaders to review their achievements over the past 27 years, and set forth orientations for future bilateral ties.
It is expected to help expand trade and investment links towards sustainability, equality and mutual benefits, and enhance partnerships in other realms like culture, education, tourism, labour, and science-technology.
The ambassador suggested the two countries double their efforts to increase bilateral trade to 100 billion USD in 2020 and promote a trade balance by increasing the RoK’s imports of Vietnamese goods.
It is necessary to encourage Korean firms, including small-and medium-sized enterprises, to invest in Vietnam in infrastructure, high-tech and renewable energy, with attention paid to technical transfer and supporting industry development, creating opportunities for Vietnamese businesses to add to the RoK’s global production and supply chains, Tu said.
He also suggested the two countries step up diplomacy, education collaboration and cooperation between people’s organisations.VNA