Vietnam, S. Korea agree to raise ties to strategic partnership

The Presidents of Vietnam and Republic of Korea agreed Wednesday to upgrade the two countries’ relations to a strategic cooperative partnership.

Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet and his RoK counterpart Lee Myung-bak, reached the agreement during their talks in Hanoi following a red-carpet welcome ceremony dedicated to the visiting RoK President.

Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet (R) shakes hands with visiting S. Korean President Lee Myung Bak after their joint press conference in Hanoi Oct. 21, 2009 (AFP photo)

The two leaders discussed a wide range of topics for future-oriented relations. They agreed to expand cooperation in economy, trade, development, science and technology, including doubling bilateral trade from US$10 billion last year to US$20 billion by 2015.

The two leaders also agreed to establish annual vice-ministerial "strategic dialogue" to promote cooperation in the foreign, security and defense sectors.

The two countries also agreed to begin discussions this year on forming a joint team to study the feasibility of a bilateral free trade agreement.

The two sides issued a joint statement on establishing a strategic cooperative partnership on the same day.

The two Heads of state agreed to consider the elevation of the project to develop areas along the Red River banks in Hanoi into a national-scale project.

President Triet delivered thanks to the RoK for recognizing Vietnam as a market economy and regarding the country as a key partner in development cooperation, describing those moves as positive contributions to the cause of Vietnam’s economic development.

During the talks, President Triet reiterated Vietnam’s consistent stance of supporting peace, stability, dialogue and cooperation on the Korean peninsula.

He delivered the country’s appreciation of RoK efforts to settle the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula peacefully.

The two leaders, on the occasion, called on the concerned parties to soon resume talks and strictly abide by agreed commitments to denuclearize the peninsula.

The RoK President invited President Triet to visit his country at a convenient time and the Vietnamese leader accepted the invitation with pleasure.

The two leaders later met with Vietnamese and foreign reporters to brief them on the outcome of the talks.

On the Wednesday evening, Vietnam’s Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh received the RoK President in Hanoi.

The Vietnamese Party leader also reiterated Vietnam’s consistent stance of supporting peace, stability, dialogue and cooperation on the Korean peninsula.

Also Wednesday, President Lee met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Mr. Lee said that Korean businesses always consider Vietnam a promising investment environment. He pledged to continue to encourage his country’s companies to invest in the Southeast Asian country.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (R) holds talk with visiting S. Korean President Lee Myung Bak in Hanoi Oct. 21 (AFP photo)

PM Dung said Vietnam is willing to create favorable conditions for Korean investors.

RoK is the second largest direct foreign investor in Vietnam with a total capital of over US$20 billion as of this July.

On the Wednesday morning, officials and businesses of the two countries convened an economic forum in Hanoi to discuss new opportunities for cooperation and to share experiences.

Addressing the forum, President Lee said that in their meetings, the two countries’ leaders shared their visions of the future.

He said Vietnam not only has an interest in financial assistance but also prioritizes learning from his country’s experiences in overcome difficulties and challenges in the past.

RoK Deputy Minister of Strategy and Finance Hur Kyung-wook said at the forum that his country regards Vietnam as a strategic partner and will accelerate its cooperation to help Vietnam develop into an industrialised nation.

In addition to providing consultancy on improving the country’s market economy, the RoK will also help Vietnam in the fields of science and technology, human resources development and education, according to Mr. Hur. The assistance will include building technical schools in five Vietnamese localities and improving its capacity in terms of human resources through exchanges and visits.

By Thanh Nam, translated by Khanh Van

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