Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018
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Vietnam, South Korea seek ways to enhance strategic partnership

Updated at Tuesday, 04 Dec 2018, 10:05
The Hanoitimes - The two countries have seen close economic ties with the rapidly increasing trade, expected to hit US$100 billion by 2020.
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly, is on a four-day visit to South Korea this week as part of efforts to boost the multi-faceted relationship which has flourished over the past years. 
 
NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Hanoi in 2017. Photo: VNS
NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Hanoi in 2017. Photo: VNS
The visit, between December 4 and December 7 at the invitation of her counterpart Moon Hee Sang, is expected to deepen the strategic cooperative partnership. 

Economic ties on the spotlight

With the diplomatic relation set up in 1992, the two countries have seen closed economic ties with the rapidly increasing trade, mostly after the Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and Korea (VKFTA) came into effect in December 2015. 

Currently, South Korea ranks Vietnam’s third biggest trade partner behind China and the European Union with the two-way trade of US$60 billion in 2017 while Vietnam is the 4th largest trade partner of the East Asian country. The two countries expect to raise the value to US$100 billion by 2020. 

In terms of investment, South Korea takes the lead among investors in Vietnam with registered foreign direct investment (FDI) of US$65 billion in more than 7,000 projects as of October 2018. 

South Korea is the second biggest official development assistance (ODA) provider to Vietnam with US$1.2 billion in the 2012-2015 period and a registered amount of US$1.5 billion for the 2016-2020 period. The ODA focuses on green growth, infrastructure, and manpower training. 

People-to-people exchange focused 

Despite different political systems, the two countries have found so much similarities in culture, the peoples, therefore, are closer to each other with the rising number of visitors to each other’s country. 

In 1994, the two countries signed an agreement on cultural cooperation. In 2006, South Korea established Korean Cultural Center in Hanoi. 

The number of South Korean arrivals to Vietnam is just behind China, reaching 2.5 million in 2017, up 56% on year while Vietnamese visitors to the East Asian country rose 29% on year to 325,000 in 2017. 

At present, more than 180,000 Vietnamese people are living in South Korea and Vietnam is home to over 160,000 South Koreans. 

Currently, there are more than 1,000 flights between Vietnam and South Korea per month. 

 
South Korean visitors in Hoi An. Photo: Cadn.com.vn
South Korean visitors in Hoi An. Photo: Cadn.com.vn
Partners in international forums 

Vietnam and South Korea have shared common stances on some international issues and raised common voices in various global agendas and forums including the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN-South Korea, Mekong sub-region and South Korea, etc. 

Over the past years, the two parliaments have tightened relations with the visits of high-profile parliamentarians, such as the latest visit of South Korean parliament chairman Chung Sye-kyun to Vietnam in April 2017 and the visit to Seoul in July 2017 by Vietnamese National Assembly deputy chairman Uong Chu Luu. 
Linh Pham
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