Vietnam’s Support for ASEAN Cooperation: RoK’s Expectations

With the arrival of the new year 2024, Vietnam is anticipated to play a crucial role as a bridge for the Republic of Korea (RoK) to achieve its cooperation objectives with ASEAN, according to an expert.

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The year 2023 is a significant year for both the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Vietnam. This year marks the official implementation of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries. The RoK has high hopes for Vietnam to support its cooperation goals with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2024, according to a Korean expert.

Speaking to the VNA’s reporter in Seoul, Prof. Choe Won-gi, head of the Centre for ASEAN – India Studies at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA), mentioned that with many important agreements reached during RoK President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to Vietnam in June last year, Vietnam and the RoK have embarked on a new chapter in their bilateral cooperation since establishing diplomatic ties 30 years ago.

A show of traditional costumes of Vietnam and the RoK at the Vietnam-RoK festival in Da Nang city. Photo: VNA

Prof. Choe suggested that bilateral cooperation between the two countries should prioritize politics, security, maritime security, law enforcement, economic trade, investment, infrastructure, telecommunications, emerging technology, and energy. He also emphasized the importance of focusing on more complex industrial sectors and emerging areas of economic cooperation, in line with the RoK’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

The RoK President has launched the Korea-ASEAN Solidarity Initiative (KASI) as part of the regional strategy, which provides a strong foundation for strengthening cooperation between the two countries at bilateral, regional, and global levels, Prof. Choe added.

Regarding RoK-ASEAN cooperation in 2023 and the orientation for 2024, Prof. Choe mentioned that the RoK’s participation was well-received by ASEAN member countries, especially during the RoK-ASEAN summit in Jakarta last year.

2024 marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of a partnership between the RoK and ASEAN. The RoK aims to upgrade its relations with ASEAN to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Both sides are currently seeking tangible support for this new relationship, such as a plan of action, Prof. Choe explained.

According to Prof. Choe, the RoK holds high expectations for Vietnam’s role as a bridge and its ability to help the country achieve its cooperation goals with ASEAN.

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

He further assessed that the bilateral partnership between the RoK and Vietnam is crucial for the RoK’s overall cooperation with ASEAN member countries. Despite Vietnam joining ASEAN later, its role and influence within ASEAN have been steadily strengthened. Vietnam actively contributes to shaping the future of ASEAN, Prof. Choe stated.

According to Prof. Choe, Vietnam has the potential to play an intermediary and coordinating role between the RoK and ASEAN.

Additionally, Assistant Professor Beak Yong-hun from the School of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies under the RoK’s Dankook University mentioned that the RoK aims to promote practical and future-oriented cooperation with ASEAN and the Mekong region. The administration of President Yoon supports collaboration in future-oriented fields such as digital transformation, climate change response, medical services, health care, maritime security, and defense industry.

Beak also emphasized the significance of the young generation in promoting bilateral relations and supporting the development of the Vietnamese language and Vietnamese studies in the RoK.

Hannah Nguyen