RoK’s President Moon Jae-in delivers a remark to open the second Mekong-RoK Summit on Friday. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — The Republic of Korea (RoK) will provide US$10 million for developing countries to ensure that residents of the Mekong countries can access any suitable vaccines through the COVID-19 Vaccines Advance Market Commitment (COVAX), RoK’s President Moon Jae-in said at the second Mekong-RoK Summit on Friday.
COVAX is a multilateral platform designed to fund coronavirus vaccine distribution to developing countries.
Moon highlighted the adoption of the Mekong-Han River Declaration for Establishing Partnership for People, Prosperity and Peace at the first Mekong-RoK Summit in Busan last year as a new step in co-operation.
This year, despite the pandemic, the countries have maintained their friendship and trust by providing test kits and sharing experience in disease prevention and control. Apart from infrastructure projects, the RoK and Mekong countries [Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Việt Nam] commit to working to beat the pandemic and building medical capacity, he said.
During the second summit, leaders of Mekong countries and the RoK agreed to elevate their bilateral relationships to a strategic partnership for people, prosperity and peace, focusing collaboration on seven prioritised areas (culture-tourism, infrastructure, information technology, agriculture and rural development, human resource development, environment and non-traditional security challenges), improve resilience of regional supply chains and facilitate activities of enterprises from six countries.
The RoK President praised the level of trade between South Korea and the five nations, which was similar to that of last year despite the rupture in global travel and shipments, thanks to the close cooperation in disease control and prevention.
Moon also said he would push for a bilateral project aimed at preserving the Mekong River's ecological environment, managing its water resources and preventing natural disasters. Seoul will also seek to involve international organisations, such as the United Nations, in the project, he added.
"As part of the effort, we will continue to increase the level of the South Korea-Mekong co-operation fund as well as our overseas development assistance," said Moon.
The Mekong and RoK leaders also encouraged the engagement of localities and businesses from six countries and emphasised the need to promote Mekong-RoK collaboration with ASEAN and other Mekong co-operative mechanisms.
The six countries will together organise Mekong-RoK exchange events next year to commemorate ten years of co-operation.
Co-chairing the second Mekong-RoK Summit on Friday with President Moon, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said “With strong commitments and resolve of member countries, co-operation between Mekong countries and the RoK had developed in both depth and width.
“The adoption of the Mekong-Han River Declaration has given more strength to co-operation, contributing to accelerating the building of the ASEAN Community, boosting regional connectivity and stepping up sustainable development of all member countries.”
He attributed these achievements to the efforts and resolve of the Mekong countries, as well as the financial and technical support from the RoK people and government.
The second summit offered a chance for the sides to review the implementation of the Mekong-Han River Declaration and discuss orientations in the new context, elevating the co-operation to a new level, the leader said.
The Mekong-RoK co-operation initiative was launched at the 13th ASEAN-RoK Summit in 2010 when RoK President Lee Myung Bak proposed organising the Mekong-RoK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to promote political and economic relations between Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Việt Nam and the RoK, narrow development gaps and support building ASEAN Community.
Foreign ministers of Mekong countries and the RoK gathered for the first time in Seoul in 2011 and adopted Han River Declaration on establishing Mekong-RoK comprehensive strategic partnership for common prosperity.
In September 2019, RoK President Moon Jae-in launched Mekong-RoK Co-operation Vision which focused on three pillars: prosperity through sharing experience; prosperity through sustainable co-operation; and peace and prosperity through comprehensive connectivity.
People, prosperity and peace were selected as core parts of partnership between Mekong countries and the RoK at their first summit in 2019.
The third Mekong-RoK Summit will be co-hosted by Cambodia and the RoK next year. — VNS