Experts and Media Optimistic about Cooperation between South Korea and Vietnam

Many experts and members of the media have expressed optimism regarding the future of relations between the Republic of Korea and Vietnam.

Prof. Choe Won-gi (right), head of the Centre for ASEAN - India Studies at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, grants an interview to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent. Photo: VNA
Prof. Choe Won-gi (right), head of the Centre for ASEAN – India Studies at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, grants an interview to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent. Photo: VNA

An expert from the Republic of Korea (RoK) has expressed optimism for the future of RoK-Vietnam relations. He believes that the current State visit by President Yoon Suk Yeol could serve as a catalyst for further progress in bilateral relations.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency, Prof. Choe Won-gi, head of the Centre for ASEAN-India Studies at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA), emphasized the significance of President Yoon’s June 22-24 visit to Vietnam. This visit holds great importance as Vietnam is the first Southeast Asian country that President Yoon has visited since assuming office in 2022. This visit underscores Vietnam’s importance to the Republic of Korea (RoK).

Last year, when diplomatic relations turned 30, Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) agreed to upgrade their bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership. This marks the highest level of bilateral relations that Vietnam has achieved. The Vietnamese government sees this as a testament to the successful cooperation between the two countries over the past three decades.

Vietnam has become one of the RoK’s most important economic partners. This partnership has brought significant benefits to both countries, with increased trade and investment flows. The RoK has also become a major source of technology and expertise for Vietnam, supporting its economic development and modernization efforts.

Both countries have recognized the importance of further deepening their cooperation. The comprehensive strategic partnership provides a framework for expanding cooperation in various areas, such as politics, economy, culture, and people-to-people exchanges. This will further enhance the bilateral relationship and contribute to the prosperity and stability of the region.

Overall, the upgrading of bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership reflects the strong and mutually beneficial relationship between Vietnam and the RoK. It is an important milestone in their long history of cooperation and sets a solid foundation for even closer collaboration in the future.

The economic cooperation has been extremely successful. As a result, it is important to prepare for the future and strengthen the relationship. He emphasized the need to substantiate the comprehensive strategic partnership and move beyond just an economic partnership to a more comprehensive one.

From a strategic standpoint, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Vietnam share a high level of strategic convergence and have numerous common interests in the areas of economy, security, and even socio-economic development. There are approximately 9,000 Korean factories operating in Vietnam, and both countries have a significant number of residents living in each other’s nations – with around 200,000 Koreans living in Vietnam and a similar number of Vietnamese residing in Korea. This high level of social and cultural exchange has fostered a strong bond between the two nations.

“I am extremely optimistic about the future of our bilateral relations, and I believe that President Yoon’s visit to Vietnam will likely serve as a catalyst for further progress in our relationship,” expressed the professor.

He believed that the bilateral relationship between the RoK and Vietnam has been highly successful. However, he emphasized that both countries need to prepare for the next phase of their comprehensive strategic partnership in order to address the limited scope of their current economic cooperation. He suggested that they should broaden the areas of cooperation beyond economy, trade, and investment to include diplomacy, defense, and industrial cooperation.

Overall, it is crucial to create a well-defined plan for executing the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement to ensure that the countries make tangible advancements in various areas of collaboration, ranging from economic to diplomatic, security, and strategic domains. This was emphasized by Choe.

Vietnam plays a crucial role in ASEAN and is a significant member of the organization. As the Republic of Korea (RoK) seeks to enhance its relationship with ASEAN by establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership, Vietnam, as the coordinator of RoK-ASEAN relations, holds a pivotal position in achieving this goal. Given these circumstances, it is evident that both Vietnam and the RoK share vital mutual interests.

The two countries must collaborate on this matter, he stated, expressing his high hopes for Vietnam’s future development. He further emphasized that Vietnam’s diplomatic standing has grown significantly, not just within ASEAN but also on the global stage. This growth is highly encouraging news for the Republic of Korea.

President of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, Yu Jeong Yeol.
President of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, Yu Jeong Yeol.

The President of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), Yu Jeong Yeol, recently emphasized the importance of Vietnam as a key economic partner for the Republic of Korea (RoK). In an article published on June 19 in the Economic Daily, Yeol underscored the need for the RoK to collaborate with Vietnam. This highlights the significant role Vietnam plays in the economic landscape, making cooperation between the two nations imperative.

The author proposed implementing measures to enhance the trading structure between South Korea (RoK) and Vietnam, as well as strengthening partnerships within the supply chain. Specifically, the RoK and Vietnam have been actively enhancing their trade relationship by emphasizing the exchange of intermediate goods and components. This approach allows both countries to effectively complement each other’s strengths and further promote their economic cooperation.

Involvement in projects related to energy and environmental sustainability should also be acknowledged. Vietnam is the first country with which the RoK has signed an agreement on climate change. Furthermore, with the activation of government-led projects involving the development of smart cities and smart farms, there are expected opportunities for bilateral cooperation to expand.

In the field of digital transformation, the demand for cooperation in information and communication technology (ICT) is growing. Vietnam has set its sights on making significant progress in industries like healthcare, educational technology, and big data with the help of innovative technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence (AI). This has led to Korean small and medium-sized enterprises and startups actively entering the Vietnamese market to meet these growing needs.

The article highlights the rapidly changing global economy in the post-pandemic era, emphasizing the challenges faced by countries worldwide. Considering this transitional phase, the RoK and Vietnam must enhance their relationship as strategic and comprehensive partners, while also fostering a stronger economic bond.

President Yoon’s visit has garnered significant attention from the Korean media.

About President Yoon’s attendance at a business forum with the participation of approximately 500 Korean and Vietnamese companies, Donga Ilbo newspaper reported that this is the first time President Yoon has taken an overseas trip with such a sizable economic delegation since assuming office in May 2022.

The President of the Republic of Korea (RoK) has decided to visit Vietnam, which is one of its top trading partners in the ASEAN region. This visit is seen as a significant step in strengthening ties between the two nations, particularly in the areas of economy, supply chains, security, and culture. By choosing Vietnam as the first ASEAN destination to visit, the RoK leader aims to solidify existing policies and enhance partnerships in these key areas. This visit marks an important milestone in the relationship between the RoK and Vietnam, highlighting the importance of their bilateral trade and cooperation.

The Yonhap News Agency reports the Vietnam visit of the RoK leader. Snapshot
The Yonhap News Agency reports the Vietnam visit of the RoK leader. Snapshot

The Yonhap News Agency, national broadcaster KBS, and prominent newspapers such as Joongang Ilbo and Chosun Ilbo have highlighted the substantial economic delegation accompanying President Yoon during his trip. They have emphasized the significance of Vietnam as the RoK’s primary manufacturing hub and a major trading partner in Southeast Asia. This underscores the importance of the visit in strengthening economic ties between the two countries.

Meanwhile, also stated that this is the largest economic delegation since President Yoon’s government took office in May 2022. The delegation includes prominent figures such as Lee Jae-Yong, the Executive Chairman of Samsung Electronics, Choi Tae-won, Chairman of the SK Group and current Chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chung Eui-sun, Chairman of Hyundai Motor, and Koo Kwang-mo, Chairman of the LG Group. In addition, leaders from various other sectors are also expected to participate in extensive discussions with Vietnamese counterparts.

Hannah Nguyen