NA Chairwoman begins official visit to RoK hinh anh 1Chairwoman of the National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan arrives in Busan on December 4. (Photo: VNA)

Busan (VNA) – Chairwoman of the National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and a high-ranking NA delegation arrived in Busan city on December 4, beginning her four-day official visit to the Republic of Korea (RoK) at the invitation of Speaker of the RoK National Assembly Moon Hee-sang.

Chairwoman Ngan and her entourage were welcomed by the RoK Ambassador to Vietnam Kim Do-hyon, Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tu, Busan Vice Mayor Yoo Jae-soo, Honorary Consul General of Vietnam in Busan-Gyeongnam region Park Soo-kwan, and representatives from the Vietnamese community and Korean businesses in Busan city.

Vietnam and the RoK established diplomatic ties on December 22, 1992. In August 2001, the two nations issued a joint statement on comprehensive partnership in the 21st century on the occasion of the RoK visit by Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong. In October 2009, they boosted their relationship to strategic cooperative partnership level during the Vietnam visit by President Lee Myung-bak.

The two countries have contributed to forums and multilateral cooperation frameworks in the region and the world, while bilateral ties have been deepened via the regular exchange of high-level delegations.

Relations between the two legislatures have been nurtured bilaterally and multilaterally. During the RoK visit by Vietnamese NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in July 2013, a cooperation deal between the two legislatures was signed.

Speakers of the Korean NA Chung Ui-hwa and Chung Sye-kyun visited Vietnam in March 2015 and April 2017, respectively, while Vietnamese NA Vice Chairman Uong Chu Luu visited the RoK in July 2017. The friendship parliamentarians groups of the two countries hold regular exchanges and activities during major festivals.

The RoK is the biggest foreign investor, the second largest supplier of official development assistance (ODA) (behind Japan) and the third largest trade partner of Vietnam, behind China and the European Union (EU). Bilateral cooperation mechanisms have been maintained such as the Vietnam-RoK Inter-Governmental Committee on Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation and the Ministerial-level Inter-Committee on cooperation in nuclear power, energy and industry.

In the first 10 months of this year, two-way trade hit 54.2 billion USD. The enforcement of the Vietnam – RoK free trade agreement on December 20, 2015 is expected to lift the figure to 100 billion USD by 2020.

As of October 2018, the RoK was the biggest investor among 128 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 7,323 projects worth 62.1 billion USD, accounting for 18.3 percent of the total figure.

In recent years, the RoK has emerged as the second largest source of tourist arrivals in Vietnam, behind China. Last year, more than 2.5 million Korean tourists arrived in Vietnam, up 56 percent year-on-year. In 2017, the number of Vietnamese visitors to the RoK numbered nearly 325,000, up 29 percent annually. During the January-October period, 2.8 million Korean visitors landed in Vietnam, up 48.3 percent annually, while more than 440,000 Vietnamese people visited the RoK, up 37.3 percent.

The two nations signed a cultural cooperation agreement in August 1994, a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in culture, arts, sports and tourism in October 2008 and other agreements on youth and education exchanges. In 2006, the Korean Cultural Centre was established in Hanoi.

The two sides signed a governmental-level cooperation agreement on science and technology. The management board of the Hoa Lac High-Tech Park and the RoK’s Chungnam Technology Science Park sealed a cooperation agreement in 2010. The Vietnam – RoK industrial technology incubator was inaugurated in 2015.

Collaboration in artificial intelligence has been strengthened via information sharing and personnel training under curricula by the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the International Intellectual Property Training Institute, automation in intellectual property management and the enforcement of commitments in the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Statistics from the Korea Immigration Service showed that there were more than 190,000 Vietnamese nationals living and working in the RoK as of October 2018 while about 150,000 Koreans have been in Vietnam.

The official visit by NA Chairman Ngan is of significance, showing Vietnam’s respect for the Vietnam-RoK strategic cooperative partnership, and its desire to elevate the ties with the East Asian country to a new height. It also affirms support to the RoK’s New Southern Policy and realises the agreement signed between the two legislatures in July 2013.-VNA