Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tu (Photo: VNA)

Seoul (VNA) – The upcoming State visit to Vietnam by the Republic of Korea (RoK) President Moon Jae-in will be a good chance for leaders of the two countries to review achievements of bilateral relations in the past 25 years and sketch out plans for future cooperation, stated Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tu.

In an interview with Vietnam News Agency’s correspondents in Seoul, the diplomat said that since the two sides set up diplomatic relations in December 1992, great progress has been seen in Vietnam-RoK ties in all fields from politics, defence and security to culture, sports, tourism and people-to-people exchange.

The RoK has become the biggest foreign investor of Vietnam by pouring 57.6 billion USD of capital into the country as of 2017. The RoK is also Vietnam’s second largest partner in terms of trade, tourism and development assistance. Last year, two-way trade revenue reached 61.5 billion USD, while more than 2.4 million RoK tourists visited Vietnam.

Currently, more than 150,000 Vietnamese and RoK citizens reside in each other’s country.

The visit, from March 22-24 at the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang, is the first State visit of President Moon to Vietnam and his second arrival to the Southeast Asian country after the leader’s attendance in the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Vietnam in November 2017.

After taking office in May 2017, President Moon sent special envoys to some ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, which shows his attention to the country, said Ambassador Tu.

The diplomat said that the visit takes place at a time when the strategic partnership between the two sides is thriving. He added that there is room for both sides to expand ties.

Vietnam is always keen on fostering friendship with the RoK, while the RoK is implementing its New Southern Policy aiming to lifting up the ASEAN-RoK relationship to a new height, he noted.

Prior to the visit, on March 8-10, RoK Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also toured Vietnam.

Noting the similarities between the two nations and sound sentiments towards each other, the diplomat expressed his belief that the visit will be fruitful, reinforcing political trusts between senior leaders and friendship between peoples of both sides.

“I believe that the future of the Vietnam-RoK relations in the next 25 years will be brighter,” he declared.

The ambassador asserted that with the bilateral free trade agreement that has been effective since 2015, the two sides should expand their trade and investment partnership, striving to raise two-way trade to 100 billion USD by 2020, along with promoting trade balance.

The RoK should import more products from Vietnam and encourage its small and medium-sized enterprises to invest in infrastructure, high technology and renewable energy in Vietnam, while paying more attention to transferring technology and developing the support industry, creating opportunities for Vietnamese firms to join global production and supply chains, he held.

Ambassador Tu also suggested that the two sides coordinate in implementing reached agreements, including the 1.5 billion USD Economic Development Cooperation Fund in 2016-2020, a 12 billion USD credit programme within bilateral financial cooperation and a project to build a Vietnam-RoK Institute of Science and Technology.

They should continue focusing on labour cooperation, while promoting people-to-people exchange, said Ambassador Tu.

Along with creating favourable conditions for students of both sides to study in each other’s country, the two countries should expand coordination among civil organisations, he added.

He also pledged that the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK will work with local agencies, organisations and localities to bolsters people-to-people contacts, and organise Vietnamese language courses for overseas Vietnamese children in the RoK.-VNA