RoK Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (Source: Yonhap/VNA)

Singapore (VNA)
- The Republic of Korea (RoK) will implement its New Southern Policy with a determination to promote cooperation with the Mekong region, said RoK Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

Speaking at the 8th Mekong-RoK Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Singapore on August 3 in the framework of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Minister’s Meeting and related meetings, Kang affirmed that her country will also increase official development assistance (ODA) for ASEAN countries and funding for the Mekong-Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF).

During the meeting, the two sides agreed to continue their cooperation to increase connectivity; narrow the development gap; improve the capacity for sustainable development.

They also focused their discussions on how to upgrade working mechanisms and on the organisation of the first Mekong-RoK summit in 2019.

In his speech at the event, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said that countries in the Mekong region and the RoK need to foster cooperation in protecting the environment; effectively preventing and addressing disasters in the Mekong River; sustainably managing the Mekong river’s water resources; and expanding collaboration with the Mekong River Commission.

He suggested the RoK share its experience in green development to promote sustainable development in the Mekong Sub-region or those related to education and human resources development in response to the 4th industrial revolution.

Minh underlined the necessity for the two sides to boost industrial link, especially in modern agricultural technology; and expand regional connectivity through developing international transport corridors and logistics systems, including the East-West Economic Corridor; the Southern Economic Corridor and the construction of a railway route from Vientiane, Laos, to Vung Ang port of Vietnam.

The RoK is one of the leading ODA providers for ASEAN member countries in general and nations in the Mekong region in particular. In the 1987-2017 period, the RoK’s aid for the Mekong region accounted for 74 percent the country’s total ODA for ASEAN.

In addition, the RoK Government also provided 4.3 million USD for the MKCF in the 2013-2017 period.-VNA