|President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc leaves Hà Nội on December 4 morning for a state visit to the Republic of Korea. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and a high-ranking delegation of Việt Nam left Hà Nội on December 4 morning for a state visit to the Republic of Korea (RoK).
The visit from December 4-6 is made at the invitation of RoK President Yoon Suk Yeol.
President Phúc is the first foreign senior leader to pay a state visit to the RoK since President Yoon took office, showing the RoK’s appreciation of its ties with Việt Nam with the Vietnamese President being welcomed with the highest rites.
The visit takes place at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 30th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties, are entering a pivotal period to carry out their own development strategies, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected to usher in new chapter in bilateral ties.
Việt Nam and the RoK established their diplomatic relations on December 22, 1992 but they had engaged in cooperative activities earlier. In August 2001, the two nations issued a joint statement on the comprehensive partnership in the 21st century on the occasion of Vietnamese President Trần Đức Lương's visit to the RoK. In October 2009, the bilateral ties were upgraded to a strategic cooperative partnership during the Việt Nam visit by President Lee Myung-bak.
On political, national defence-security cooperation, the exchange of delegations and bilateral meetings have been maintained in both online and in-person formats.
As of September 2022, the RoK remained the biggest foreign investor in Việt Nam with US$80.52 billion, accounting for 18.6 per cent of the total investment in the country.
With $1.2 billion in preferential loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) for 2012-2015 and $1.5 billion for 2016-2020, the RoK was the second biggest provider of official development assistance (ODA) for Việt Nam. The RoK was also the third biggest trade partner of Việt Nam with two-way trade of $66.65 billion in 2019, $65 billion in 2020 and $78 billion in 2021.
On the back of the Việt Nam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the two countries are looking toward $100 billion in bilateral trade next year and $150 billion by 2030, by creating favourable conditions for Việt Nam’s exports of agro-aquatic products and seasonal fruits.
The two countries are also working closely on regional and global issues of shared concern, including the East Sea issue and Korean Peninsula, stepping up coordination at multilateral forums and organisations as well as bilateral and multilateral free trade deals of which both nations are members.
Việt Nam is the second biggest source of guest workers to the RoK, behind China, while the RoK was the second largest recipient of Vietnamese guest workers, behind Taiwan (China). At present, about 48,000 Vietnamese labourers are working in the RoK.
In recent years, the RoK has emerged as the second biggest source of tourists to Việt Nam, behind China, reaching 4.2 million in 2019, up 23.1 per cent from the previous year. The number of Vietnamese visitors to the RoK reached 550,000, up 21.9 per cent year on year.
So far, most of Vietnamese cities, provinces and localities have inked cooperation deals with Korean localities, organisations and businesses. Korean investors are now present in 59 localities, mostly in Bắc Ninh, Hà Nội, Đồng Nai, Hải Phòng, Thái Nguyên, and HCM City. — VNS