Korea-Mekong Peace Forum puts Vietnam-RoK cooperation in spotlight

11:36 | 14/05/2018 Cooperation

Scientists, experts, and policymakers from the Republic of Korea (RoK) 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.

At the Mekong-Republic of Korea Peace Forum - Source: vovtv.vov.vn

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 on 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 cooperation between the countries for the development of peace and prosperity, he stated.

According to Nguyen Thi Tham of INAS, the RoK considers Vietnam to be a key partner in President Moon Jae-in’s “new southern policy”.

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

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

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

Given the escalation of global trade protectionism and increasing instability in the global economy, the two countries should cooperate closely to provide effective support for 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 that Vietnam was acting as an important partner in the region’s economic development.

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

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

He suggested the country improve supporting industry and strengthen its technological competence.

Vietnam’s main exports to the RoK include phones and phone components, computers and computer components, machinery and equipment, and textile and garment products. Its imports consist of imported instruments, computers, electronics, petroleum, phones and plastics.

During the forum, participants also hailed the positive developments on the Korean Peninsula.

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

Theo NDO/VNA