Việt Nam - Korea friendship to reach new heights: South Korean ambassador

October 03, 2021 - 10:43

To mark South Korea's National Foundation Day on October 3, the ambassador to Việt Nam, Park Noh-wan, wrote to Việt Nam News.

To mark South Korea's National Foundation Day on October 3, the ambassador to Việt Nam, Park Noh-wan, wrote to Việt Nam News:

Vietnamese and Korean people have developed a close relationship for many years, based on the similarities of history, culture and lifestyle. The governments and peoples of our two countries have long worked closely together, sharing and helping each other whenever necessary, almost as much as families do. It is no surprise that so many Vietnamese and Korean people have been married to each other, and that more than 4.8 million Vietnamese and Korean people were visiting each other’s country per year before the COVID-19 pandemic. Many describe our bond as an “in-laws relationship“, which is not an exaggeration.

Our two countries are now further strengthening the bilateral partnership even beyond the “in-laws relationship“ as we overcome the pandemic together. A Vietnamese saying goes, “walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light”. Indeed, Việt Nam and Korea have walked together hand in hand throughout this dark time of the pandemic. We supported each other with various means and resources. Even though Korea had a hard time securing vaccines for its own people, we decided to initially provide over 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Việt Nam. This is Korea’s first and largest donation of vaccines to another country, and Seoul is willing to provide it as promptly as possible in October so as to support the Vietnamese people in a timely manner. Furthermore, the two countries will cooperate in our response to the pandemic more comprehensively, promoting sustainable and inclusive socio-economic recovery and development. To meet this end, Korea will fully support Vietnamese efforts to establish Việt Nam’s version of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention across the country.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is not the only common challenge we face today. The political-economic environment surrounding the two countries is also very complicated. And as usual, our two countries are determined to partner together to meet any economic and political challenge.

Economically, the two countries have long been indispensable partners before the pandemic and will continue to do so for decades to come. Korea is Việt Nam’s top investor as well as the third-largest trading partner. The pandemic had a limited impact on our economic partnership, thanks to the close cooperation between the businesses and governments of the two countries. We are working hard to further enhance bilateral trade and investment, with the goal of increasing the trade volume to US$100 billion by 2023. Korea and Việt Nam will continue to strengthen the collaboration in a vast array of sectors, including infrastructure, energy, and capacity building on climate change. Korea will also support Việt Nam for accomplishing Việt Nam’s "Socio-Economic Development Plan". We are ready to meet the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution together and will generate the momentum for sustained and shared future growth.

On the security front, the partnership extends far beyond our own territories. For example, Việt Nam assumed in August the role as coordinator for ASEAN-Korea partnership 2021-24. The two countries joined hands to upgrade the Mekong-Korea partnership into a strategic one in 2020. Hà Nội and Seoul are working side by side to deal with security issues of the Asia-Pacific region, including maritime security, non-proliferation, climate change and natural disasters - contributing to the peace, stability and prosperity of the region. It was thus natural for the leaders of the two countries to have frequent contacts despite the pandemic. President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and President Moon Jae-in held a summit in New York two weeks ago; General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng and President Moon, as well as the two Prime Ministers, had phone calls in July.

The Korean Cultural Days 2021 in Quảng Nam Province between April 9 and 11. Photo courtesy of the embassy

Our two peoples have so much in common both culturally and socially, and the two countries can also achieve far more when working together in this field, too. The latest hit Korean TV show, the “Squid Game“ on Netflix, is a perfect example, illustrating cultural collaboration between the two countries, as the team in charge of the spectacular visual effects that were critical for the show’s success was from Việt Nam.

The Vietnamese national football team is another example. Thanks to the teamwork of Mr. Park Hang-Seo, the head coach, and every one of its players, the Vietnamese national football team went to the final round of the World Cup qualification for the first time. I am more than certain that they will accomplish much more in the coming months and years.

Next year is the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Korea and Việt Nam. Our 30-year-long partnership is now reaching maturity. The 30th anniversary will serve as a new turning point for the relationship, as the leaders of the countries agreed to elevate the current “Strategic Cooperative Partnership” to an even higher level. I am certain that the companionship of Việt Nam and Korea will continue to grow in every aspect, bringing peace, stability and prosperity to our two great nations. — VNS