Viet Nam News
To mark the 25th Anniversary of Việt Nam-Korea Relations this year, Việt Nam News presents an article written by Lee Hyuk, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea. He talks about the achievements of the two countries over the past 25 years and of his vision for the coming 25.
Twenty-five years ago, Việt Nam and Korea embarked on what became an incredible journey of co-operation and partnership. Year after year, we made remarkable progress, and in the process gained even greater momentum. You will recall that in 2012, when we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our relations, we were amazed at the extraordinary achievements we had made. Five years since, we have made even greater advances. Korea’s investment in Việt Nam tripled to a cumulative $50 billion, bilateral trade volume doubled to $40 billion in 2016, and the total number of reciprocal visitors increased two-fold, reaching a record-breaking 1.75 million. Indeed, few countries are able to reach the level of co-operation Việt Nam and Korea have accomplished in the short span of 25 years.
Now, as we open up a new chapter in Việt Nam-Korea relations on this 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties, our two countries are both ready and determined to take our relations to an even higher level. Given the natural connection between our peoples and the mutually reinforcing nature of our relationship, I am certain that the coming years will witness further deepening of friendship and strengthening of common interests. In fact, we are already seeing encouraging signs indicating a stronger Việt Nam-Korea partnership in the future - Korean investment continues to grow, the number of tourists continues to expand, and more and more Vietnamese and Koreans are feeling closer to each other. But what is truly important is that our partnership is developing in a way that brings greater benefits and happiness to our peoples. And to this end, I would like to emphasise the following three points as we begin our next 25 years together.
First, we need to further expand our horizons and develop a more multi-dimensional partnership. I believe the remarkable achievements in Việt Nam-Korea economic relations will lead us to further expand our co-operation in political, socio-economic and cultural spheres. In fact, the positive experience has already spilled over, spurring co-operation in many new areas. However, there are still many untapped opportunities. The defence industry, science and technology, climate change and the entertainment industry, just to name a few, are some areas that could be further explored as we work towards upgrading our relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
Second, we need to focus on building a more mutually beneficial relationship based on shared understanding and respect. In this regard, this year’s 25th anniversary celebrations will be a great opportunity for Koreans and Vietnamese to learn more about each other. Just as K-pop and Korean drama are thriving here in Việt Nam, more and more Koreans are learning to love and appreciate Vietnamese cuisine, arts and culture. Also, as Ambassador, one of the things I always emphasise to Koreans and Korean businesses here in Việt Nam is for them to fully respect and strictly abide by the rules and norms of their host country. I encourage Korean companies to take an active part in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities so they can better understand their Vietnamese neighbours and contribute to the country’s socio-economic development. Indeed, it is my firm belief that only when we have full respect and consideration for the other, we are able to prosper and grow together.
Finally, I would like to highlight the importance of people-to-people exchanges, especially among our future generations. Fostering friendly relations between our youths is key to cultivating a stable and future-oriented partnership. In this regard, I am happy to see many young Koreans travelling to Việt Nam in pursuit of their dreams, while many more Vietnamese students are studying Korean in universities as well as in secondary schools. The 140,000 Korean and Vietnamese expatriates living in each other’s countries, including the 60,000 Korean-Vietnamese families, who have become invaluable bridges connecting our two peoples, will also be strong supporters of the future of our two countries.
2017 is the Year of the Rooster. Just as a rooster hails the advent of a new day, this year we welcome the beginning of a new 25 years in Việt Nam-Korea relations. I look forward to working with our Vietnamese partners in making our 25th anniversary both memorable and festive, and in laying the groundwork for a more comprehensive and mature partnership in the next quarter-century. — VNS