Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has affirmed that cooperation with the Republic of Korea (RoK) is a top priority in Vietnam’s external relations.

Minh made the affirmation at his meeting with President Lee Myung Bak during his official visit to the RoK from December 6-9 on the occasion of the two countries 20 th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

President Lee Myung Bak described FM Minh’s visit as an important event during the Vietnam-RoK Friendship Year. He reiterated the intention to continue to boost the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership between the RoK and Vietnam in the coming time.

Earlier, on December 7, FM Minh held talks with RoK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan.

The two sides expressed elation at the positive development of bilateral ties in various areas over the past 20 years.

They exchanged measures to implement high-level agreements reached by the two countries’ leaders. Accordingly, the two Foreign Ministries will work closely together to organise high-level visits and boost cooperation in politics, defence and security as well as ties between ministries, agencies and localities.

The two sides agreed to encourage RoK businesses to increase investment in Vietnam, aiming to raise bilateral trade to 20 billion USD in the coming time and strike trade balance. They also agreed to strengthen cooperation in other areas including development cooperation, science-technology and tourism.

Minister Kim said the RoK will coordinate closely with Vietnam to support the Vietnamese community in his country, especially Vietnamese brides and those working and studying in the RoK.

The two sides pledged to strengthen cooperation and mutual assistance at such international forums as the UN, APEC, ASEAN+ and EAS as well as the cooperation between the two Foreign Ministries.

Regarding regional and international issues, they reached consensus on the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region and dealing with differences through peaceful means on the basis of international law without the use of force or threat to use force.

The same day, FM Minh attended a reception hosted by the Vietnamese Embassy in RoK to mark the 20 th anniversary of Vietnam-RoK diplomatic ties (December 22).

Addressing the event, RoK Prime Minister Kim Hwang Sik highlighted the developments in the two countries’ relations, from the traditional sectors of trade and investment to newer areas including technology, green development and coping with climate change.

Bilateral relations have developed not only extensively but also intensively on the basis of mutual understanding and trust, he said.

A Vietnam-RoK forum promoting investment in industrial zones and economic zones with focus on supporting industry in Vietnam was also held the same day.

Within the framework of the 2012 Vietnam Week, a Vietnam-RoK gala night was organised on December 8 and broadcast on the international channel of the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS).

On the occasion, an event introducing Vietnam ’s cuisine was held, attracting a large number of Korean visitors.

The Vietnam Week in the RoK successfully wrapped up, contributing to promoting Vietnam’s image to the RoK people and strengthening mutual understanding, friendship and people-to-people exchange between the two peoples.-VNA