The first visit to the RoK by a Vietnamese Prime Minister in seven years is of great importance to strengthening cooperation between the two countries, particularly when Vietnam becomes ASEAN Chair and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council next year.
Remarkable achievements in Vietnam-RoK ties
Since Vietnam and the Republic of Korea established diplomatic ties in 1992, the bilateral relationship has grown rapidly upgrading to Comprehensive Partnership in the 21st century in 2002 and Strategic Partnership in 2009. The two countries have boosted cooperation in various fields, particularly in politics, investment, trade, and tourism. Vietnam considers the RoK its top partner in various fields while the RoK considers Vietnam a key partner in its New Southern Policy. They have increased exchanges of high-ranking officials to strengthen mutual political trust.
The RoK is one of Vietnam’s leading partners, ranking first in investment, second in official development assistance (ODA), and third in trade and tourism. Vietnam is the RoK’s 4th largest trade partner with trade estimated to reach 67 billion USD this year, 40% of the total trade between ASEAN and the RoK. The two countries hope to increase bilateral trade to 100 billion USD by 2022. They have also strengthened bilateral cooperation in defense, security, culture, education, sports, and tourism.
More than 4 million people travel between the two countries each year and there are more than 1,000 Vietnam-RoK flights a month. More than 200,000 citizens of each country are working, studying and living in the other country. There are about 65,000 Vietnamese-Korean families. The Vietnam national football team’s success under the leadership of coach Park Hang-seo has inspired the two countries’ peoples and fostered their ties.
Future bilateral ties
The RoK is developing rapidly in capital and science and technology, and extensively participating in the global value chain. It now needs a young, large market to grow. Vietnam, a dynamic country, is accelerating its reform and international integration. It is an attractive investment destination with a golden population structure: 70% of its 100 million people are aged between 15 and 64 and its annual income per capita is nearly 2,800 USD. Vietnam is a member of several regional and global cooperation mechanisms and has a number of new-generation free trade agreements. These create a great potential for the two countries to expand their ties.