Vietnam and South Korea consider upgrading the relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership after three decades of diplomatic ties which have gained fruitful multisectoral achievements.
|Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh speaks at the event held in Seoul on June 23. Photos: VNA
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh gave remarks on the occasion of the 30th founding anniversary of Vietnam-South Korea diplomatic relations (1992-2022).
The two countries have become leading partner with each other, mostly in trade and investment, with South Korea being the biggest investor in Vietnam with large-scale investment projects, contributing to creating global supply chains in Vietnam, Minh said in a recorded video at the 30th Global Maekyung Forum held in Seoul on June 23.
To enhance the ties, Minh suggested focusing on science-technology and innovation; digital and green economy; clean energy, smart city, and eco-industrial parks. He stressed the importance of regional economic connectivity to tap potential of the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Of the fields, the two countries should put emphasis on digital platforms to open up investment opportunities and business connections. South Korean businesses are encouraged to establish research and development (R&D) centers in Vietnam and share digital transformation and corporate governance.
Addressing the event, Choo Kyung-ho, South Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, said bilateral trade between the two countries has increased 160-fold since the establishment of diplomatic relations to US$80.7 billion in 2021. Vietnam has become South Korea’s 4th largest trade partner, and the latter has been Vietnam’s 3rd largest trade partner.
Choo suggested expanding collaboration to new areas associated with digital and green technology, stable supply chain, infrastructure and smart city, and climate change response.
|Choo Kyung-ho, South Korea’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance at the event.
Maekyung Media Group’s Chang Dae-whan pointed out six cooperation measures for the next 30 years, namely sustainable development; upgrading bilateral relations; renovation and smart city; developing vaccine and drug; and manpower training.
On this occasion, businesses and experts of both sides exchanged a number of issues for further cooperation.
With robust economic relations, shared geopolitical concerns, and increased mutual trust, the two countries can reinforce each other’s middle power aspirations and work together to ensure regional stability, according to Sarah Kim, a visiting scholar at the East-West Center in Washington for the East-West Center-Korea Foundation U.S.-ROK Cooperation in Southeast Asia program.
Vietnam is a particularly attractive partner for South Korea because of its political and economic stability among ASEAN member states. Politically, Hanoi continues to remain open towards foreign investment with the support of its legal system. Vietnam’s New Law on Investment from January 2021, for example, is regarded as even more welcoming of foreign investment than past provisions. Vietnam’s economic vibrance, openness to foreign investment, and cost-effective labor force offer Seoul an ideal overseas production base for smartphones, textiles and electronic products, and a trustworthy partner in Southeast Asia.
According to Sarah Kim, Vietnam is also a centerpiece of South Korea’s New Southern Policy (NSP). In addition to serving as NSP’s economic pillar, Vietnam bodes strong support for the policy’s three P’s: “People, Peace and Prosperity.” Beyond economics, the Vietnamese public is believed to generally hold a positive perception of South Korea, owing to the vast array of cultural interactions and bilateral tourism prior to the pandemic, thereby strengthening people-to-people relations.
Vietnam is also an important partner for South Korea’s NSP Plus, which emphasizes cooperation in areas of public health and human development in addition to the economy in aiding post-pandemic recovery.
While economics has been a firm basis for Seoul and Hanoi’s relationship, both nations can further deepen their partnership on a geostrategic level, building on decades of mutual trust, the scholar emphasized.
|Overview of the forum.