Viet Nam News
To mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with South Korea, the republic’s ambassador in Việt Nam, Lee Hyuk, sends a message to Việt Nam News readers.
The Korea - Việt Nam Summit between President Moon Jae-in and State President Trần Đại Quang in Đà Nẵng in November during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week held a special meaning for Korea and Việt Nam. It was the first meeting of the two leaders to celebrate 25 years of bilateral relations.
Although it was their first encounter, the two leaders were like old friends exchanging good wishes, personal thoughts and ideas on various issues, and conversed for more than 40 minutes.
The meeting was symbolic of the special friendship and solidarity between the two peoples.
Indeed, while there are various reasons behind the unprecedented rapid development of South Korea - Việt Nam relations, one of the key driving factors has been a feeling of extraordinary fondness and affection felt by the peoples of our two countries towards each other.
As a result, bilateral trade volume, which was a meager US$500 million at the time of the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992, had multiplied more than 120 fold to a ecord $60 billion at the end of this year.
South Korean businesses which numbered about 10 companies in 1996 have mushroomed to an impressive 5,500 enterprises today. And with a cumulative investment of $60 billion, Korea has firmly consolidated its position as the number one investor in Việt Nam.
As such, the economies of our two countries today have become an integral and indispensible part of each other, bringing our strategic cooperative partnership even closer.
The remarkable achievements in economic co-operation quickly spread out to other areas.
Exchanges in fields such as tourism, development co-operation, culture, arts, education and sports began to flourish.This in turn sparked even more co-operation and partnership.
Mixing bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish, as a symbol of friendship and solidarity between Korea and Việt Nam during the opening ceremony of the Korea Days in Hà Nội Festival on April 8-9. — Photo courtesy of the embassy
There are more than 1,100 direct flights every month and more than two million Koreans and Vietnamese travel to each other’s countries - a clear testament on how close our two peoples are today.
What is even more promising is that this close partnership appears to be headed towards yet another splendid 25 years of co-operation. As I took part and watched the numerous celebrations this year—from K-Pop concerts to academic forums—taking place throughout Việt Nam to commemorate the anniversary, I became confident that a more mature partnership was growing.
The time-honoured friendship and trust connecting our two peoples and their resolve to work together will once again propel our relations forward to heighten our partnership.
In 2018, South Korea and Việt Nam will take the first step of our journey together into the next 25 years.
The two governments will further deepen political trust through active high-level exchanges, and work closely together to share strategic interests and bring peace, stability and prosperity in this region and the world.
In terms of economic co-operation, we look forward to working together in further utilising the South Korea - Việt Nam FTA to reach the $100 billion target trade volume by 2020.
We will also broaden our horizons to expand co-operation in new and innovative fields, such as environment, science and technology, and information and communications.
The Việt Nam - Korea Institute of Science and Technology (V-KIST), which was launched at the end of this year, is a monumental achievement and we hope the endeavour will contribute to building a modernised industrial economy in Việt Nam through advances in science and technology.
Cultural co-operation is also expected to thrive in the years to come. What began with the introduction of South Korean films and music has today branched out into a multitude of exchanges and partnerships in classical music, traditional arts, paintings, sculptures, fashion, and animation.
There is also growing potential in co-production of films and collaborative projects among Korean and Vietnamese artists and musicians. And today, with the rapidly growing popularity of Việt Nam in Korea—not only its food, but also as a most attractive travelling destination—there will be more and more opportunities to promote Vietnamese culture in Korea.
Immediately after his inauguration, President Moon Jae-in sent a special envoy to Việt Nam. Recently, the Moon Administration announced Korea’s New Southern Policy which places Việt Nam at the heart of South Korea’s foreign policy. As such, the South Korean government’s determination to strengthen co-operation with Việt Nam is stronger than ever. Our two countries are indeed in a good position to begin our journey together for the new 25 years.
I hope the government, peoples, businesses and scholars of our two countries, based on the spirit of our co-operation of the past 25 years, will once again spare no efforts in bringing into full bloom the latent potential and new possibilities in our relations to further elevate our strategic co-operative partnership. — VNS