Mekong-RoK Cooperation Upgraded into Summit Level

10:51:27 AM | 11/28/2019

Leaders from five countries lying along the Mekong River and the Republic of Korea (RoK) agreed to establish the Partnership for peace, prosperity for people and upgrade the Mekong-RoK to a summit level.

The first Mekong-RoK Summit took place on November 27 in Busan, the RoK, attracting the participation of leaders from Cambodia, the RoK, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. 

This is the first time leaders from the six countries gathered to discuss the future of the cooperation after establishing the Mekong-RoK partnership eight years ago.

With the theme “Mekong-RoK future cooperation for common prosperity”, delegates reviewed cooperation between the Mekong River-sharing countries and the RoK over the recent decade, which has gained positive achievements such as narrowing the development gap, enhancing regional connectivity and building the ASEAN Community.

They spoke highly the support of the RoK for the Mekong region and welcomed the commitments of the RoK to increase the Official Development Assistance for ASEAN and the annual contributions for the Mekong-RoK Cooperation Fund.

Regarding future cooperation, they consented to boost cooperation on three pillars of people, prosperity and peace and seven prioritized areas of culture and tourism, human resource development, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure, information technology and communications, environment and non-traditional challenges.

All the leaders were unanimous in setting up Mekong-RoK Biodiversity Center and the Mekong-RoK Water Resources Joint Research Center to accelerate the preservation of the natural resources and sustainable development in the Mekong River.

The year 2021 was chosen as the Mekong-RoK exchange year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of cooperation anniversary.

The occasion, a Mekong-RoK Business Council was founded to boost connectivity between enterprises in the six countries and the participation of the business sector in the cooperation.

Speaking at the Summit, PM Phuc highlighted three goals of the Mekong-RoK cooperation including consolidating the regional environment of peace, people-centered economic development and innovation and creation as the main force and economic growth in line with environmental protection and maintenance of natural resources.

He stressed the importance of transport infrastructure development and information technology, suggesting the RoK expand investment in the Mekong region, especially in transport infrastructure development, energy and urban development.

Phuc proposed sharing experience and policies on IT, e-Government and 5G development, promoting high-quality human resources through boosting cooperation in improving the quality of education and training and enhancing science-technology cooperation as well as providing more scholarships.

Leaders at the Summit approved the Mekong-Han River Declaration on the establishment of Partnership for peace, prosperity for people and assented to organize the second Mekong-RoK Summit in Viet Nam in 2020.