Vietnam, RoK look to beef up strategic partnership

President of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Park Geun-hye is set to arrive in Hanoi on September 7 for her four-day state visit to Vietnam.

President of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Park Geun-hye is set to arrive in Hanoi on September 7 for her four-day state visit to Vietnam, which is expected to greatly enhance trust, cooperation and understanding between the two sides.

This is President Park’s first visit to Vietnam since she took office in February this year, and the fifth one by a RoK President since the two nations established diplomatic relations in 1992.

She is scheduled to hold talks with President Truong Tan Sang and have meetings with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung.

During over two-decades of ties, Vietnam and the RoK – strategic partners since 2009 – have grown closer in all fields.

The two sides have regularly exchanged delegations at all levels. Most recently, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan made a three-day visit on August 25.

Among the 96 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, the RoK ranks fourth after Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, with 3,392 projects underway.

Major Korean enterprises such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai have been operating in Vietnam for a long time.

Vietnam is the ninth largest export market of the RoK. Two-way trade in 2012 reached 21.12 billion USD, 42 times more than the 500 million USD figure recorded in 1992. In the first seven months of 2013, the number reached 15.1 billion USD, a 40 percent rise year-on-year.

In recent years the RoK has come only second to Japan as the country to offer the most official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam – its largest ODA recipient. More than 200 million USD was granted in 2011 to Vietnam, a country that the RoK considers to boast the three crucial pillars of green growth, human resources training and infrastructure development.

The two sides signed an agreement on ODA cooperation, in which the RoK committed to supply Vietnam with 1.2 billion USD from its Economic Development Cooperation Fund in the 2012-2015 period, up 200 million USD against the 2008-2011 period.

The RoK also has the second highest number of citizens travelling to Vietnam. In the first seven months of this year, 439,100 came, a 4.3 percent increase over the same period last year.

The two sides have signed their cooperation agreement in culture and a memorandum of understanding in art, sports and tourism partnerships.

In 2006, the RoK Cultural Centre was established in Hanoi . Currently, more than 500 Vietnamese students are studying, mostly at tertiary and post-graduate levels, in the RoK.

In addition, the RoK is Vietnam’s second largest labour export market, receiving 68,000 Vietnamese guest workers under its Employment Permit System (EPS) programme.

Meanwhile, people-to-people diplomacy between the two countries has also been fostered with the introduction of a number of associations, including the Vietnam-RoK Friendship Association and the Vietnam-RoK Parliamentarian Friendship Association.

Cooperation among localities in both countries has been expanded with cooperative relations seen between Hanoi and Seoul, Ho Chi Minh City and Bussan city, and Da Nang and Deagu.

As the fourth strongest economy in Asia and the 15 th in the world, RoK trade earnings in 2012 were more than 1.1 trillion USD. In the first seven months of this year, the number was 622.3 billion USD, helping the country remain its trade surplus in 18 consecutive months.

The upcoming visit of President Park Geun-Hee aims to affirm that the RoK attaches importance and is keen on strengthening the strategic partnership with Vietnam.-VNA

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