Mekong, RoK foreign ministers gather at Bangkok meeting hinh anh 1Foreign minister of the Mekong countries and the RoK pose for a photo at the meeting in Bangkok on August 3 (Photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – Foreign ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam highly valued the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s contributions to the Mekong region in the recent past while attending a meeting in Bangkok on August 3.

The 9th Mekong-RoK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting took place on the sidelines of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in the capital city of Thailand.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh led the Vietnamese delegation to the event.

The participating officials appreciated the RoK’s contributions to the Mekong region through official development assistance and the Mekong-RoK Cooperation Fund (MKCF). They also welcomed the Northeast Asian nation’s New Southern Policy with a vision for a people-centred community of peace and prosperity.

They agreed to organise the first Mekong-RoK Summit on the sidelines of ASEAN-RoK Summit in Busan city this November.

At the meeting, the ministers reviewed the implementation of the Mekong-RoK Action Plan for 2017-2020 and recognised the progress of cooperation projects in sea ports, the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) to culture and education, forest preservation, and sustainable agriculture.

They agreed that in the time ahead, the Mekong countries and the RoK will continue implementing the priority projects in the Action Plan, enhance coordination with other cooperation mechanisms in the region, and encourage the participation of the private sector.

They will also press on with projects contributing to sustainable development, including the management and sustainable use of water resources, and work closely with the Mekong River Commission.

In 2019, the MKCF will support seven new projects, including the Vietnamese one on promoting the irrigation capacity to serve agricultural development in the Mekong Delta.

During the event, the ministers also discussed some international and regional issues, including the East Sea and the Korean Peninsula issues, along with non-traditional challenges like water resources, food and energy security.

Applauding the RoK’s contributions to the Mekong region, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Minh proposed some priority cooperation fields for the coming time such as dialogue, manpower training and technology transfer in the field of green growth, agricultural cooperation to develop plant varieties that can adapt to climate change, sustainable management of submerged forest ecosystems, water use efficiency,  educational collaboration, ICT development in rural areas, and ICT manpower development.

Concluding the meeting, the officials adopted the co-chairs’ statement and agreed to hold the next Mekong-RoK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vietnam in 2020.

They also agreed to work closely together for the success of the first Mekong-RoK Summit. -VNA