PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and RoK President Moon Jae-in (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam always attaches importance to comprehensive and trustworthy cooperative ties with the Republic of Korea (RoK) and is willing to work as a bridge to connect and expand ASEAN-RoK relations, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

PM Phuc made the statement during a meeting in Hanoi on March 23 with RoK President Moon Jae-in, who is on a State visit to Vietnam from March 22-24.

He highlighted the significance of the visit which takes place at a time when cooperative relations between Vietnam and the RoK are developing strongly in all fields and have reaped a lot of achievements over the past 25 years in the spirit of strategic partnership of mutual trust.

Congratulating the RoK on the successful hosting of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics which opened up opportunities for peace dialogues, the PM expressed his hope that the upcoming high-level talks between the RoK and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and between the DPRK and the US will be held successfully, thus promoting peace, stability and cooperation in the Korean peninsula and the world.

While stressing that Vietnam and the RoK share a range of cultural and historical similarities as well as strategic interests, he lauded the RoK’s New Look South Policy for cooperation and peace, under which the RoK considers Vietnam a key cooperation partner.

For his part, President Moon spoke highly of the strong development of Vietnam–RoK relations, particularly in trade, investment and culture, and affirmed that the RoK regards Vietnam as the most important nation in its New Look South Policy.

Expressing his delight at the important achievements in the bilateral relations, particularly after the establishment of strategic partnership, the President noted that the RoK is now the second biggest trade partner of Vietnam, while Vietnam is the fourth biggest trade partner of the RoK. In 2017, Vietnam welcomed the most Korean visitors among Southeast Asian nations.

President Moon said during the visit, the two sides signed cooperation agreements on industrial and energy production, and organised a groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam–Korean Institute of Science and Technology (V-KIST).

Having expressed his pleasure with the achievements of multifaceted cooperation between the two nations in the past years, PM Phuc highly evaluated the contributions of RoK major groups, including Samsung, LG, and Lotte, Vietnam’s development.

He suggested the two sides take comprehensive measures to boost economic, trade and investment ties in a stable, balanced, and effective manner, thus ensuring mutual benefits and realising the target of 100 billion USD in two-way trade in 2020.

PM Phuc asked the RoK to address difficulties related to quarantine of Vietnamese agricultural products, including star-apple, dragon fruits, rambutan, longan, and lychees, and open its market for Vietnamese pork and chicken in 2018.

Vietnam always fully implements its commitments under the Vietnam–RoK Free Trade Agreement and facilitates the shipments of RoK agricultural products and pharmaceuticals to Vietnam, he noted.

Vietnam commits to creating favourable conditions for RoK firms to expand their investments in Vietnam, particularly in high-tech fields, such as research and production of semi-conductors, electronics, supporting industry, renewable energy, organic agriculture, innovative startups, transport infrastructure projects, industrial parks, smart cities, and equitisation of state-owned enterprises and commercial banks, the Government leader affirmed.

Vietnam wants the RoK to provide Vietnam with preferential credit packages, and effectively implement the financial cooperation agreement worth 12 billion USD for a number of projects on transport infrastructure, technology transfer, revising the agreement on avoidance of double taxation, and help Vietnam build the e-government, he said.

PM Phuc went on to say that Vietnam expects that the RoK will receive more Vietnamese guest labourers, particularly skilled workers, adding that the two sides need to boost technology transfer in supporting industry, automobiles, mechanic, apparel, electronics and renewable energy sectors.

The PM expressed his hope that the RoK Government will boost cooperation with Vietnam in culture, education, tourism and people-to-people exchanges and allow Vietnamese airlines to increase flights and air routes to RoK localities, simplify visa granting procedures for Vietnamese visitors, and give more government scholarships to Vietnamese students.

He lauded the RoK’s efforts to build Vietnam Village in its Gyeongsangbuk province to preserve and develop historical relic sites related to Vietnam’s Ly family in the country, and believed that in that spirit, the RoK President’s visit will elevate the two nations’ relations to a new height in the coming time.

President Moon highlighted the shared love for football between the two nations and congratulated Vietnam on the recent success of the U23 football team at the AFC U23 Championship. He hoped that Vietnam’s football will continue gaining greater achievements in regional and international events, and that both Vietnamese and Korean national football teams will compete in the World Cup.

The RoK is willing to support and share its experience with Vietnam in realising its goals of modernisation and industrialisation by 2020, he affirmed, adding that the target of 100 billion USD in two-way trade value in 2020 is reachable.

The RoK Government will continue encouraging its enterprises to invest in Vietnam, share their experiences and technologies to improve Vietnam’s production capacity, he pledged.

Vietnam is home to more than half of RoK firms operating in Southeast Asia, the RoK President said, suggesting the Government of Vietnam and related bodies facilitate their operation and investment.

Sharing PM Phuc’s views on increasing the exchange of delegations at all levels to enhance mutual understanding between the two nations’ people, he highlighted the huge room for Vietnam-RoK cooperation and hoped that governmental agencies of the two countries will collaborate with each other more effectively, thus deepening bilateral relations, for the benefits of their people and for peace and prosperity in the region and the world.-VNA