Vietnam- Republic of Korea: Move toward new level, open new horizons

WVR - On the occasion of the state visit of the Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the Republic of Korea (RoK), Ambassador of RoK to Vietnam Oh Young-ju shared her expectations of the visit and the bilateral relation.
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomes Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Oh Young-ju on October 26, 2022. (Source: VNA)

Could you please share us your expectations of the Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s state visit to the Republic of Korea (RoK)?

This state visit by Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc takes place after 11 years and on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and RoK. Therefore, it has a great significance. Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc is the first state guest since RoK President Yoon Seok Yeol took office.

This clearly shows that both the Government of Vietnam and the Government of President Yoon Suk Yeol attach great importance to the bilateral relationship and will continue to make active efforts to develop this bilateral relationship.

Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Oh Youngju. (Photo: PA)

Vietnam has been one of the most important partners with RoK in all aspects. In particular, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, Vietnam and Korea are facing domestic and foreign problems that require cooperation with each other more than ever.

First, nations in the world are acutely aware of the importance of working together as key partners in the context of increasingly fierce strategic competition among great powers and the oder of the world is unstable due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Second, Vietnam is a key strategic partner of RoK in the Indo-Pacific region. RoK is pursuing a foreign policy of becoming a "global key country" with a "free, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific" strategy as its focus.

Third, RoK will be Vietnam's most reliable partner when Vietnam has the goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2045.

In the context of the fact that the strategic importance of the Vietnam - Korea relationship is noticed and the internal and external environment is changing, the meetings between the leaders of the two countries is expected to be an opportunity to create a new cooperation framework between the two countries.

How do you evaluate the efforts of the two nations to push our relationships in recent times?

Over the past 30 years, Vietnam-RoK relations have developed rapidly at a speed not seen with any other country.

Some statistics show the bilateral relationship more clearly. Trade turnover between the two countries reached $80 billion last year, and is expected to reach $100 billion by 2023. Vietnam is RoK's fourth-largest trading partner and third-largest investment destination.

Currently, there are about 8,000 Korean enterprises operating across Vietnam. For Vietnam, Korea is the largest investor and the third largest trading partner after China and the United States.

People-to-people exchanges are also very active. The number of Vietnamese in Korea reached 220,000, of which the number of married migrants was 85,000. At the same time, there are about 150,000 of Korean living in Vietnam.

The Korean language department has been established in 53 Vietnamese universities. Last year, the Vietnamese Government decided to choose Korean language as the first foreign language, which is taught from grade 3 to grade 12 in Vietnam.

What are your expectations of new steps in cooperation between the two countries in the coming time, especially in the sense of the upgrade of the bilateral relationship to the comprehensive and strategic partnership?

Reflecting the qualitative and quantitative changes in the bilateral relationship, the two countries discussed for a long time to elevate the current bilateral relationship, the Strategic Cooperation Partnership, to a new level. I hope that during this state visit of President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the discussions in the past time will reap good results.

In the new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the two countries will continue to expand their current production-focused economic cooperation to digital transformation, realizing the goal of carbon neutrality, and developing the biological sector and economic security… Moreover, I hope that cooperation between the two countries, which has been focused on the economic field, will bear fruit in the fields of defense and security, health and environment as well as society and culture…

In addition, as a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the two countries need to go beyond bilateral cooperation and work more closely in addressing some of the common challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and in the world.

As one of the key partners in the Indo-Pacific strategy and the Korea-ASEAN Cooperation Initiative announced at the ASEAN Summit in November last year, Vietnam has worked closely with us on many areas regionally and internationally. The two countries will continue to cooperate more closely in the international arena.

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