President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (Source: Embassy of the Republic of Korea)

Hanoi (VNA) – President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea and his spouse began a three-day State visit to Vietnam on March 22.

This is the first official visit to Vietnam by President Moon Jae-in.

The visit takes place at a time when the Vietnam-RoK Strategic Cooperative Partnership is thriving with regular exchanges of high-level visits and contacts. This is an opportunity for both countries’ leaders to review outcomes in the past years and discuss orientations for the future bilateral relations.

Vietnam affirms to pursue its external policy of independence, self-reliance, muliteralisation and diversification of international relations, in which the development of cooperation with the RoK is emphasised.

Vietnam and the RoK established diplomatic ties on December 22, 1992. They set up their comprehensive strategic partnership in August 2001, and agreed to lift the ties to a strategic cooperative partnership in October 2009.

In 2006, an agreement on cooperation between the two legislatures was signed, an important legal document for both sides to develop their friendship and cooperation.

The nations also established important security-defence cooperation mechanisms, including a security dialogue and defence dialogue at the deputy ministerial level.

The Vietnam-RoK free trade agreement, which became effective on December 20, 2015, has opened a new chapter in bilateral economic ties.

[President Moon Jae-in wants to lift RoK-VN partnership to next level]

The RoK is currently one of Vietnam’s most important economic partners, ranking first in terms of investment, and second in development cooperation, trade and tourism.

Two-way trade jumped from 500 million USD in 1992 to 61.5 billion USD in 2017, of which 14.8 billion USD came from Vietnam’s exports, up 30 percent from the previous year, and 46.7 billion USD from the Southeast Asian country’s imports, a year-on-year increase of 45.3 percent.

The two countries are working to raise the turnover to 100 billion USD by 2020.

The RoK ranks first among 125 nations and territories pouring capital into Vietnam, with total registered capital hitting 57.7 billion USD as of late December 2017.

The eastern Asia country ranks second in terms of the number of tourists to Vietnam. Last year, Vietnam welcomed more than 2 million Korean visitors, a surge of 56.4 percent year-on-year. In January this year, 316,300 Korean tourists visited Vietnam, a year-on-year jump of 84 percent.

Currently, there are more than 112,200 Vietnamese people living in the Republic of Korea, while about 150,000 Koreans are living in Vietnam. - VNA