Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung hosted a welcome reception for the former President of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Lee Myung-Bak in Hanoi on October 21.

He expressed his delight at the strong and comprehensive development of bilateral relations, particularly since the two countries established their strategic partnership in 2009.

Vietnam attaches great importance to its ties with the RoK and wishes to work with the RoK to step up collaboration in all fields, including the economy, trade, investment, tourism, politics, culture and people-to-people exchanges, he added.

The Government leader also voiced his belief that with the joint efforts of both sides a free trade agreement would be signed by the end of 2014.

From then on, bilateral economic, trade and investment ties and cooperation between the two sides’ ministries, sectors and businesses would go from strength to strength, he said.

The Prime Minister appreciated the former President’s working visit. He said he hoped the former President would continue to contribute to the development of Vietnam-RoK relations.

Lee Myung-Bak stated that the RoK’s business community is particularly interested in Vietnam, which is reflected in a large number of leading companies on hi-tech products accompanying him on his visit.

According to him, the two countries do not need to worry about trade imbalances since the presence of an increasing number of RoK investors in Vietnam will result in a rising demand for imported materials and equipment from the RoK.

The guest also expressed his hope that the Vietnamese Government will continue to provide support for RoK investors and businesses.-VNA