Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Việt Nam Đoàn Khắc Việt during Thursday press briefing in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo

The remark was made by the deputy spokesperson for the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Đoàn Khắc Việt, during a Thursday press briefing.

Reporters asked for Việt Nam’s reaction to a decision by a court in South Korea on Tuesday that ordered the Government to pay 30 million won (US$24,000) to 62-year-old victim Nguyễn Thị Thành, who lost family members and suffered injuries in the massacre.

Thành lived in Phong Nhị Village in the central province of Quảng Nam when RoK troops raided and massacred more than 70 Vietnamese citizens in her village and Phong Nhất Village on February 12, 1968.

The South Korean court rejected the government's argument that it is exempt from paying damages to a Vietnamese national under an agreement signed between Việt Nam, South Korea and the United States, Yonhap reported.

“This was a massacre caused by a foreign troop contingent in a Vietnamese locality,” deputy spokesperson Việt said, referring to a row of military-led raids during the height of the resistance war against the US, with the most infamous being the Mỹ Lai massacre committed by the US troops later in March 1968 that resulted in over 500 deaths of civilians.

“We follow with keen interest the decision by the court in Seoul Central District and highly respect the protection of legitimate rights of Vietnamese nationals,” the deputy spokesperson told reporters.

A survivor of the Phong Nhị massacre during the Việt Nam's resistance war against the US testifies about the incident during the trial in South Korea in 2019. — YONHAP/VNA Photo

South Korea deployed over 300,000 soldiers to southern Việt Nam during the war, the largest foreign force besides the American troops.

However, the Vietnamese Government wants to work with the RoK to further advance the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two sides in the spirit of “leaving the past behind and looking forward to the future,” Việt noted.

“We highly encourage practical and effective actions that aim to overcome the remnants of war and contribute to the strengthening and enhancing the friendship and sound cooperation between the two countries and peoples,” he added.

About whether the Government of Việt Nam could seek similar legal actions, the deputy spokesperson reiterated that with the spirit of setting aside the past and looking forward to the future, we really hope that the comprehensive strategic partnership between Việt Nam and RoK will continue to be bolstered and bring about substantive outcomes to the people and the two countries."

Việt Nam and RoK relations are thriving, and the two countries aim to lift two-way trade to US$100 billion in 2023. Việt Nam and RoK upgraded their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2022 on the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations. — VNS