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Korea, Vietnam elevate ties to comprehensive, strategic partnership

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President Yoon Suk-yeol shakes hands with his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, during a joint press conference after their summit at the former's presidential office in Yongsan District, Seoul, Monday. Yonhap
President Yoon Suk-yeol shakes hands with his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, during a joint press conference after their summit at the former's presidential office in Yongsan District, Seoul, Monday. Yonhap

By Nam Hyun-woo

President Yoon Suk-yeol and his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, held a summit in Seoul, Monday, agreeing to elevate bilateral ties to "a comprehensive and strategic partnership."

The two leaders especially vowed to strengthen cooperation in strategy, security, industry, and supply chains.

Phuc arrived in Seoul on Sunday as part of a three-day state visit to Korea on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Phuc is the first foreign head of state to make a state visit to Korea since Yoon took office on May 10.

"For the past three decades, the two countries have established a model case of mutually beneficial and cooperative bilateral relations, with their dazzling progress in trade and investment cooperation," Yoon said during a joint press conference after the summit at the presidential office in Yongsan, Seoul.

"Based on these achievements, we seek to open up a new era of Korea-Vietnam relations by establishing a comprehensive and strategic partnership," he added.

In addition to Korea, Vietnam has forged comprehensive and strategic partnerships with only China, Russia and India.

Yoon noted that the two countries will enhance strategic dialogue, since they share mutual interests in the areas of regional peace, security and a rules-based order.

"Vietnam is the core partner of Korea's Indo-Pacific strategy and Korea-ASEAN solidarity initiative," Yoon said. "To strengthen Korea-ASEAN and Korea-Mekong cooperation, we will closely coordinate with Vietnam. President Phuc also welcomed South Korea's diplomatic vision to become a global pivotal state."

During last month's South Korea-ASEAN summit, Yoon unveiled his Indo-Pacific strategy which focuses on promoting freedom, peace and prosperity in the region, pursuing an open and fair economic order and stronger contributions by Seoul for those goals.

To this end, Yoon promised to reinvigorate vice-minister level strategic conversations between the two countries and expand bilateral cooperation in maritime security and national defense.

President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during a summit with his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, at the presidential office in Yongsan District, Seoul, Monday. Joint Press Corps
President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during a summit with his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, at the presidential office in Yongsan District, Seoul, Monday. Joint Press Corps

The leaders also promised to expand bilateral cooperation for economic security and supply chain resilience.

During their summit, the two countries signed three agreements and six memorandums of understanding on tariffs, financial cooperation, rare minerals, electricity and other economic fields.

Highlighting them was an MOU on stronger bilateral cooperation in rare minerals. Vietnam has the world's second-largest reserves of rare earth metals and is an important supply chain partner for Korea, a chip manufacturing powerhouse.

The leaders also agreed that the two countries will make efforts to reach $100 billion in bilateral trade by 2023 and $150 billion by 2030.

"Korean companies are the largest investors in Vietnam with $30 billion in investments, which are expanding in areas such as technology transfers, in order to develop railways and trains, green industries, smart cities and other areas," Phuc said during the press conference.

"I am convinced that the comprehensive and strategic partnership will usher in a new era of bilateral relations and make contributions to international security and peace," he added.

Yoon also vowed to assist Vietnam with Korean language education. In February of last year, Vietnamese education authorities included Korean as one of the foreign languages taught at elementary schools there.

The Korean president also requested the Vietnamese government's support for Korea's southern port city of Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo. The Vietnamese leader responded positively to the request.


Nam Hyun-woo namhw@koreatimes.co.kr


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