Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang will pay a state-level visit to the Republic of Korea (RoK) from Nov. 8-10 at the invitation of the RoK’s President Lee Myung Bak.

The visit, Sang’s first to the RoK as Vietnam ’s President is expected to further foster the friendship, mutual understanding and trust between the two countries’ leaders, contributing to strengthening the strategic partnership between Vietnam and the RoK.

Vietnam and the RoK officially established diplomatic ties on December 22, 1992 and bilateral relations enjoy fine development through the exchange of high-ranking delegations.

The two countries upgraded bilateral ties to comprehensive partnership in 2001 during President Tran Duc Luong’s visit to the RoK. When President Kim Te Chung visited Vietnam in 2009, Vietnam-RoK relations saw a further lift to strategic cooperative partnership.

Regarding economic ties, the RoK is one of the most important partners of Vietnam . By the end of August this year, the RoK is the largest investor in Vietnam , with more than 23 billion USD in around 2,800 valid projects to date.

Two-way trade between the two countries in the first nine months this year reached 12.7 billion USD, up 44.5 percent over the same period last year.

Vietnam continues to be a priority of the RoK in providing the official development assistance (ODA) capital. The country pledged to provide almost 412 million USD to Vietnam this year, a year-on-year increase of 52.5 percent.

At present, the RoK is the third largest market for Vietnam ’s labour export, with about 60,000 Vietnamese working in the country. Last year, Vietnam sent more than 8,200 workers to the RoK and in the first eight months of this year, Vietnam brought 13,500 people to this market,

The RoK is also a potential market for Vietnam ’s tourism sector. In 2010, almost 496,000 RoK visitors arrived in Vietnam , up nearly 40 percent over 2009. In the first months of this year, 387,000 holiday-makers visited Vietnam .

Vietnam and the RoK also effectively cooperated in the fields of education and training and culture. The two countries have signed several cooperative agreements in these fields. In 2006 the RoK established the RoK’s Culture Centre in Hanoi . The RoK’s government, universities and organisations have helped Vietnam improve infrastructure for education and provided scholarships to Vietnamese students to study in the RoK.

The people-to-people friendship between the two countries was also strengthened through the establishment of the RoK-Vietnam Friendship Association and the Vietnam-RoK Friendship Association.

In the visit by Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, the two sides will discuss measures to promote the multifaceted cooperation relations between the two countries, especially in the fields of economics, trade, investment, tourism, science and technology cooperation, culture and education. The two countries have also set the target of raising two-way trade to 20 billion USD by 2015./.