Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s upcoming state visit to the Republic of Korea (RoK) is to further deepen the two countries’ five-year-old strategic partnership, with a focus on boosting economic collaboration.

The October 1-4 visit will also help strengthen political understanding and trust between the two countries’ high-ranking leaders as well as promote cooperation between the two ruling parties and the friendship between the two peoples.

Since Vietnam and the RoK set up diplomatic ties in 1992 and bilateral ties were upgraded to a strategic cooperative partnership five years ago, their relations have developed in a strong, comprehensive and intensive manner.

The two countries have maintained the exchange of annual high-level visits, most remarkably the visits by National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in July 2013, RoK National Assembly Speaker Kang Chang-hee in January 2013 and RoK President Park Geun-hye in September 2013.

The RoK has been one of the top economic partners of Vietnam. As of June this year, the country ranked first among foreign investors in Vietnam with 3,687 projects and came second in terms of registered capital with 31.2 billion USD, doubling the 2008 figure.

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).

Vietnam imports computers, electronic products and components and machinery from the RoK while selling garments and textiles, crude oil and seafood to the East Asian nation.

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.

It ranks second among countries having visitors to Vietnam, with around 750,000 last year, doubling the 2007 figure. The country is also the second largest importer of Vietnamese labourers.

The two nations signed a cultural cooperation agreement, a memorandum of understanding on culture, arts, sports and tourism cooperation, and many others on education and youth exchange.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training has chosen the RoK as a strategic partner for education and training cooperation. Currently, more than 5,000 Vietnamese students are studying in the East Asian country.

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