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Vietnam, RoK enter new chapter of cooperation

Vietnam and the Republic of Korea have entered a new chapter in their relationship as they upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership during President Nguyen Xuan Phuc's official visit to the country.
Workers at a RoK-invested company in Yen Phong Industrial Park, Bac Ninh Province, Vietnam. — VNA/VNS Photos

There are huge prospects for the two nations further to expand their cooperation in a range of fields, bringing greater benefits for the governments, people and businesses of the two countries, according to diplomats and researchers.

According to Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tung, the Vietnam-RoK joint statement on the comprehensive strategic partnership is a major milestone in the bilateral relationship. The upgrade in relations is a result of bilateral relations being taken to a new level, whereby the national interests of each country are guaranteed, and the interests of localities, businesses and people of the two countries are guaranteed to be met.

He said the upgrading not only reflects and recognises the great achievements in the relationship between the two countries over the past 30 years but also demonstrates the political will and strategic vision of the leaders of the two countries, while creating a framework and setting orientation for the relationship to continue to develop in the future.

Tung said that upgrading Vietnam-RoK relations to a new height also further consolidates trust and deepens the interweaving of interests between the two countries.

He said he firmly believes the relationship between the two nations will develop strongly in many fields, including politics, diplomacy and security and defence, economics (including trade and investment), and cultural, social and people-to-people exchanges, especially workers, international students and tourism.

The new partnership will also open many opportunities for Vietnam and RoK to promote cooperation in multilateral forums, especially ASEAN and the United Nations.

According to RoK researchers, there is much room to improve technology transfer, IT cooperation and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

Great potential

Regarding bilateral economic cooperation, Professor Park Bun-soon, an expert from Korea University, noted that the two sides need to consider several outstanding issues. The first is the trade deficit between the two countries, as RoK has a large trade surplus with Vietnam.

He suggested that this issue should be addressed more systematically, saying that Vietnam's agricultural and aquatic product exports should increase and RoK enterprises in Vietnam should consider increasing the import of raw materials to produce their products.

The second issue that Professor Park mentioned is that RoK businesses have invested largely in Vietnam. Still, the Vietnamese side has not yet utilised advanced technology and techniques as expected.

He said that the State should have a regulatory role when it is not easy for businesses to transfer technology because this is the key to competition.

He said that the RoK Government had paid great attention to technology transfer cooperation and research by establishing research centres in Vietnam.

The professor said that the Vietnamese side also needs clearer requirements to ensure the capacity to effectively "absorb" the transferred technologies.

Vietnam needs to pay attention to investment in research and development (R&D), as in research institutes, and direct ODA aid in this field, he said.

The Korean professor said RoK is one of the leading countries in information technology (IT). Vietnam also has capacity in this field, but it is not well-known in RoK. There are also some Vietnamese enterprises on the list of 50 unicorn businesses, and the number of unicorn businesses in Vietnam is also higher than in Malaysia and Thailand.

The potential for cooperation in IT is still very large. However, he suggested after upgrading relations, the two countries need to have a better way of exchanging information in this area.

Cultural exchange

Political science professor Lee Han-woo from Sogang University said he was very pleased that this time the leaders of the two countries decided to upgrade the two countries' relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

He said the field of cultural exchange also needs to be promoted more strongly. The exchange between the young generations of the two countries is extremely important.

He praised the organisation of a youth exchange workshop between the two countries that took place in Hanoi last week, saying that such forums should be held regularly.

The two sides need to strengthen measures to help guide information on the internet in the context of spreading false information, which can cause bad public opinion.

The professor said that recently, a group of diplomats in RoK launched a website introducing RoK in the Vietnamese language and suggested that Vietnamese youth should have a similar page about Vietnam written in Korean.

A South Korean food festival attracts a large number of local visitors.

Professor Lee also emphasised the role of "trust" for the future of bilateral relations because a new future can be built for mutual development only with trust.

He said Korean culture is very popular in Vietnam, but conversely, Vietnamese culture is not well known in RoK, so there needs to be a way to promote Vietnamese culture to Korean people more.

He also expressed his hope that there will soon be a Vietnamese Cultural Centre in RoK. 

Source: Vietnam News

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