Seoul (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh is on a working visit to the Republic of Korea (RoK) from December 19-21 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.

During a reception in Seoul on December 20 for Chairman of the Vietnam – RoK Friendship Association Choi Young-joo, Minh suggested the association facilitate visits to Vietnam to boost trade, promote cultural exchange and tourism, strengthen friendship between the two countries’ people, and particularly ensure interests of Vietnamese brides in the country.

Choi vowed to do his best to popularise Vietnam, its country and people, and serve as a bridge connecting RoK firms with partners in Vietnam, contributing to pushing forward effective and practical development of bilateral ties.

Meeting two Vietnamese Honorary Consuls General to Busan-Kyeongnam and Gwangju-Cheonam, Minh expressed his wish that they would continue working closely with the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK to launch practical activities in consular work and citizen protection as well as extend economic collaboration between the two countries’ localities.

In a meeting with former United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Vietnamese official hailed his contributions in his capacity as RoK Foreign Minister and UN chief, which helped develop bilateral ties and deal with global challenges regarding the environment, climate change, and poverty reduction.

Ban spoke highly of Vietnam’s achievements in reform process, peacekeeping mission and stature in ASEAN, APEC and the UN. He congratulated Vietnam on successfully undertaking the role as host of APEC Year 2017 and expressed his willingness to work as a bridge to help Vietnam in developing ties with the RoK as well as in the global integration process.

The same day, the Vietnamese guest presented a certificate of merit to Chairman of the People’s Council of Seoul’s Jongno district Kim Beok-dong in honour of his active and effective contributions to strengthening bilateral ties.

Vietnam and the RoK established strategic cooperative partnership in 2009 and signed a number of important agreements, including the bilateral free trade agreement, as well as set up many cooperation mechanisms in terms of politics, defence-security, investment and tourism.

The RoK has been the top partner of Vietnam in terms of foreign direct investment, the second in official development assistance and tourism, and among the top ones in trade.

Over 162,000 Vietnamese are living and working in the RoK while 150,000 Koreans are in Vietnam.-VNA