Seoul celebrates two decades of ties with Ha Noi
(VNS) Marking 20 years of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (1992-2012), Korean ambassador to Viet Nam Ha Chan-ho wrote:This year marks the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea (ROK or South Korea) and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
|South Korean Ambassador to Viet Nam Ha Chan-ho.
Together with our Vietnamese friends, we also celebrate this truly meaningful occasion.
Indeed, our two countries have jointly made remarkable progress building strong partnerships in all fields encompassing political, economic, cultural relations and people-to-people exchanges for the past two decades.
The political relationship between ROK and Viet Nam is at its best and the two countries are now strategic co-operative partners. We share strategic interests in regional and global peace and prosperity, helping each other to achieve shared goals.
In economic fields, both countries have witnessed unprecedented growth for the last two decades.
The two-way trade volume was a mere US$500 million in 1992. Last year, it reached $18.6 billion, a staggering 37-fold increase in two decades. This year it is expected to exceed $20 billion for the first time.
|Place of worship: Night view of Gwanghallu Pavilion, South Korea. — Photo courtesy Korea Tourism
The ROK-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement, which is now under negotiation, will certainly boost this bilateral trade further.
South Korea is Viet Nam's second largest investor with approximately $24.5 billion worth of investment, while more than 2,700 South Korean companies are doing business in Viet Nam, creating over 600,000 jobs. South Korea is also a valuable development co-operation partner.
In tandem with the development of bilateral relations, people-to-people exchanges have grown significantly.
In 1992, the number of visitors to each country was only around 10,000. This figure has grown to more than 650,000 a year and there are now around 100 flights in operation between the two countries on a weekly basis. The Korean and Vietnamese communities in their respective host countries are continuously on the increase. About 135,000 South Korean people are living in Viet Nam, as are 120,000 Vietnamese in South Korea.
Of greater importance in people-to-people exchanges are the growing family ties between the Korean and Vietnamese people. With roughly 50,000 couples, our two countries are virtually "in-laws".
Vibrant cultural exchanges have created closer ties and fostered a deeper understanding among people.
Vietnamese restaurants are located around every corner in South Korea, and pho has become a very popular dish.
Meanwhile, Korean food, music and TV drama are also warmly welcomed and very popular in Viet Nam, adding to cultural diversities of the nation.
More and more schools in both countries are offering Korean and Vietnamese language courses, while in Viet Nam, 13 universities and colleges have Korean studies programmes with about 2,500 students enrolled.
The basis of our two countries' ever growing relationship, particularly in culture, lies in sharing common cultural heritage and historical experiences.
Our two nations share proud histories, striving for independence and overcoming hardships with determination and resilience.
We both strongly advocate family values and take pride in practicing the virtues of harmony, diligence and discipline.
We also share geopolitical similarity as a peninsular country, bridging the Asian mainland and our maritime neighbors.
With deeper mutual understanding and growing family ties, our two countries and peoples are building a genuine "heart-to-heart" partnership.
Future generations will surely benefit more than ever from this flourishing friendship. — VNS