An Important Milestone in ASEAN-RoK Relations

10:28:38 AM | 11/25/2019

At the invitation of President of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Moon Jae-in, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his wife will attend the 30th ASEAN-RoK Commemorative Summit and the first Mekong-RoK Summit, and pay an official visit to the RoK from November 24 to 28.

Taking place as 2019 marks the 30-year development journey of the ASEAN-RoK ties, the Vietnamese leader’s trip to the RoK aims to affirm Vietnam’s high valuation and determination to further tighten the relations between ASEAN and the RoK, as well as the Vietnam-RoK strategic cooperative partnership.

The summits come amid the complicated and unpredictable developments of the world and regional situation. However, ASEAN still continues to maintain solidarity and unity, and has achieved a number of positive results in the spirit of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”. Since its establishment in 1989, the ASEAN-RoK relations have attained many good strides. In 2010, the two sides elevated their relationship to a strategic partnership, opening a new chapter in bilateral ties.

The past 30 years have marked positive developments in the multifaceted cooperation between ASEAN and the RoK, especially in the economy and people-to-people exchange. The RoK leaders have repeatedly affirmed that the RoK supports ASEAN’s central role in the region and actively participates in the cooperation mechanisms initiated by ASEAN. Shortly after taking office, RoK President Moon Jae-in announced the “New Southern Policy” to accelerate relations with ASEAN. This is a testament to the RoK’s appreciation and desire to strengthen its ties with ASEAN. ASEAN is currently the RoK’s second largest trading partner, while the RoK is ASEAN’s fifth largest trading partner. The 2019 ASEAN-RoK Commemorative Summit is an important occasion for the parties to review the results of ASEAN-RoK cooperation over the past 30 years, as well as to promote the cooperation orientations and strategies between the two sides for the next 30 years.

Cooperation between the Mekong countries and the RoK has also achieved many important results on the basis of comprehensive partnership for mutual prosperity. The Mekong region has played an increasingly important role in the RoK’s overall foreign policy. In September 2019, RoK President Moon Jae-in proposed the “RoK-Mekong Vision” focusing on three pillars, including prosperity through sharing of experience, prosperity through sustainable development, and peace and prosperity through comprehensive connectivity. Under the theme “future Mekong-RoK cooperation for mutual prosperity”, the first Mekong-RoK Summit will focus on discussing some contents, including reviewing cooperation over the past years, and discussing cooperation orientations for the coming period, including the “Mekong-RoK Vision” proposed by President Moon.

Referring to the RoK, the Vietnamese people always held a deep impression on a country with a long-standing culture imbued with national identity, and the industrious, creative and dynamic people who have joined hands to create the “Miracle on the Han River” with the country’s rapid development. Since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties in 1992, the friendly relations and cooperation between Vietnam and the RoK have been constantly cultivated by generations of leaders and people of the two countries. In 2009, Vietnam and the RoK raised their bilateral relations to a strategic cooperative partnership, marking an important development step in bilateral relations.

The sound relations between Vietnam and the RoK have been strongly accelerated through visits and high-level meetings of the two sides’ leaders. The RoK sees Vietnam as a key partner in its “New Southern Policy”, while having worked closely and effectively with Vietnam in many multilateral forums and international organisations. Economic cooperation is a bright spot in bilateral relations. The RoK is one of Vietnam’s leading important economic partners. The cooperative mechanisms between the two sides continue to be maintained, such as the Vietnam-RoK Intergovernmental Committee for economic, scientific and technological cooperation, and the ministerial-level joint committee for cooperation on nuclear power, energy and industry. In recent years, the RoK has emerged as one of Vietnam’s key source markets of tourists. Bilateral cooperation in education, science-technology, agriculture and labour has also achieved many significant results.

There is a firm belief that PM Phuc’s trip to attend the 30th ASEAN-RoK Commemorative Summit and the first Mekong-ASEAN Summit and his official RoK visit will be a success, thereby affirming Vietnam’s responsible contributions to promoting ASEAN-RoK relations in a more extensive and effective fashion. At the same time, it will motivate the Vietnam-RoK strategic cooperative partnership to thrive in the new situation, for the benefit of the two countries’ peoples and for the common prosperity of the whole region.