Cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Vietnam as well as Mekong sub-regional countries were among topics discussed at the Mekong-Republic of Korea Peace Forum (Source: vovtv.vov.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – Scientists, experts and policymakers from the Republic of Korea and five Mekong nations of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam gathered at the 2018 RoK-Mekong Peace Forum held in Hanoi on May 10.

The event was jointly held by the Institute for Northeast Asian Studies (INAS) under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the RoK’s National Unification Advisory Council, with discussions focusing on peace and unification in the Korean Peninsula as well as cooperation between the RoK and Mekong sub-regional countries.

In his opening remarks, Pham Hong Thai, head of the INAS, said that the 2018 forum was a continuation of the achievements of the two previous forums and expanded the scope of discussion to connect the participation of delegates from the Mekong sub-region countries.

It was aimed at strengthening the cooperation between the countries for the development of peace and prosperity, he stated.

According to Nguyen Thi Tham, from the institute, the RoK considers Vietnam a key partner in President Moon Jae-in “new southern policy”.

“With its special geographic location, Vietnam plays an important role in cooperation policy of the RoK in the region,” she said.

It was necessary to boost bilateral cooperation in the context of the implementation of the new southern policy which focuses on Southeast Asia, she added.

This idea was also shared by Kwon Yul from Korea Institute for International Economic Policy.

Given the expanding global trade protectionists and increasing instability in global economy, the two countries should cooperate closely to effectively support countries in the Mekong sub-region.

Regarding plans for future development, he suggested that multilateral forums such as APEC, the Republic of Korea-ASEAN and the Republic of Korea-Mekong Sub-region should be intensified in response to challenges like food, energy and non-traditional security.

He also said Vietnam was acting as an important partner in the economic development in the region.

The RoK is the biggest investor in Vietnam and bilateral trade between the two countries reached 64 billion USD last year

However, he underlined the need to tackle Vietnam’s trade deficit to the RoK, which stood at 31.7 billion USD last year.

He suggested the country improve supporting industry as well as strengthen technology competence.

Vietnam mainly exports to the RoK phone and phone components, computer and computer components, machines and equipment and textile and garment products. It imported instruments, computers, electronics, petroleum, phones and plastics.

During the forum, participants also hailed the positive move in the Korean Peninsula.

The meeting of RoK President Moon Jae-in and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong-un at Panmunjeom was a historic milestone, opening up a good prospect towards peace, unification and denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, they said.-VNA