Viet Nam News
On the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Korea today, October 3, Việt Nam News presents an article written by the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Lee Hyuk
When President Park Geun-hye and Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc met in July this year on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, both leaders happily remarked on the splendid achievements of our partnership over the past 24 years. Today, Korea has become Việt Nam’s largest investor, second largest bilateral official development assistance (ODA) contributor, and third largest trading partner. This year, Việt Nam was recorded as the number one destination for Koreans travelling to Southeast Asia, and with 810 direct flights every month, the number of visitors is expected to grow on both sides. Indeed, in just over two decades, Korea and Việt Nam have become indispensible partners to each other.
I would like to attribute the main reason behind our fast-growing partnership to the mutually reinforcing nature of our relationship. Rather than competing, our strengths - Việt Nam’s abundant natural and human resources and Korea’s advanced technology and development experience - complement each other to produce a synergy effect. Also, Việt Nam’s market potential and its significance as a regional production hub, especially in the wake of the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), have been a source of attraction to many Korean companies, which in turn have made substantial investments in over 5,000 projects across Việt Nam contributing to the country’s socio-economic development.
This year, we witnessed the most vivid example of what we can achieve by working together during the Rio Olympics when Mr Hoàng Xuân Vinh won Việt Nam’s first Olympic Gold Medal in the 10m air pistol shooting event. As I learned of Mr Vinh’s training sessions in Korea and technical co-operation with a Korean expert, I was once again pleased and excited to see how cooperation between Vietnam and Korea produced the best possible result.
Another special quality that characterises Korea-Việt Nam relations is the resemblance of our two countries. Since my arrival in Hà Nội in May this year, I have been deeply impressed by the similarities of our two peoples in appearance, history, culture, lifestyle, values, and even in the way we think and feel. This natural connection has provided a strong and firm foundation for our friendship, as attested by the 140,000 Koreans and Vietnamese living in each other’s country, including 60,000 Korean-Vietnamese families.
Given this nature of our partnership, Korean-Việt Nam relations are expected to grow further in the coming years. The Korea-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which came into effect last December, will expand trade and investment opportunities. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the resumption of Vietnamese migrant workers in Korea signed in May this year will serve as a catalyst for increased people-to-people exchanges and co-operation. And the introduction of Korean as a second foreign language in middle and high schools in Việt Nam beginning this September, together with the burgeoning popularity of Korean pop-culture in Việt Nam and Vietnamese cuisine in Korea, will contribute to strengthening the ties between our future generations.
As we expand the horizons of our partnership, there will be increased opportunities for co-operation on matters of regional and international concern, as well. Co-operation in promoting peace and stability in the region, as well as in areas of non-proliferation, transnational terrorism, climate change, and sustainable development in various multilateral fora, including the UN and ASEAN-led frameworks, will contribute to making our strategic co-operative partnership stronger and more comprehensive. In this regard, we appreciate Việt Nam’s consistent support for peace, stability and denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
Next year we will be reaching a milestone in our partnership as we celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations. Based on the remarkable progress we have achieved so far, I look forward to opening a new chapter in our future-oriented partnership and taking our relations to the next level. To this end, I will spare no efforts to tap into every potential area of co-operation to bring our two countries and our two peoples closer.—VNS