Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong arrived in Seoul on October 1 afternoon, beginning his four-day state visit to the Republic of Korea (RoK) at the invitation of President Park Geun-hye.

The Vietnamese Party leader were welcomed at Seongnam airport by RoK Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and senior officials from the RoK Government, Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Pham Huu Chi along with a crowd of Vietnamese living and studying in the country.

On the day, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong received a delegation of the Korea-Vietnam Friendship Association (KOVIFA) led by President Choi Young-joo, hailing the association’s efforts to the development of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

He said he hoped the association would continue contributing to the promotion of people-to-people exchanges.

He then met with representatives of the two Ly families in the RoK called the Ly Tinh Thien (Changcheon Lee) family and the Ly Hoa Son (Hwasan Lee) family.

The Party leader said the two Ly families living in the RoK for seven-eight centuries was evidence for the long-standing traditional relations between the two countries

He briefed the representatives of the two Ly families on Vietnam’s socio-economic development and the Party and State’s policies while stressing that the Party and State always consider the overseas Vietnamese community as an indispensable part of the nation.

He said he wished the two Ly families should unite, provide mutual assistance, and contribute to the RoK’s development as well as the process of nation-building back home, thus contributing to the two countries’ friendship and cooperation.

The visit by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong aims to further strengthen and deepen the Vietnam-RoK strategic cooperation partnership in all-around field, especially in economics. It is also to promote the relations the two ruling parties and the friendship between the two peoples.

The RoK is Vietnam’s third largest trade partner with two-way trade reaching 27.5 billion USD last year, quadrupling the 2007 level. The two countries set to raise bilateral trade to 70 billion USD by 2020 and are actively finalising negotiations towards the early signing of a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The RoK is also the second largest donor of official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam, after Japan, with a committed amount of 1.2 billion USD for the 2012-2015 period.

As many as 120,000 Vietnamese are living and working in the RoK, including 50,000 Vietnamese-Korean couples. The RoK community in Vietnam also numbers around 120,000.-VNA