January 12, 2024
SEOUL — The year 2023 is an important year for the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Việt Nam as it is the first year the two countries officially carried out the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and the East Asian nation pins hopes on the latter to support the country in realising its cooperation goals with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2024, a Korean expert has said.
Talking to the Vietnam News Agency’s reporter in Seoul, Prof. Choe Won-gi, head of the Centre for ASEAN – India Studies at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA), said that with many important agreements reached during RoK President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to Việt Nam in June last year, Việt Nam and the RoK have opened a new chapter in their bilateral cooperation since their diplomatic ties were set up 30 years ago.
Noting that leaders of the two countries have agreed to prioritise bilateral cooperation in the fields of politics and security, the professor opined the cooperation should include maritime security and law enforcement. In the field of economic trade and investment, the two countries need to raise cooperation to a higher level, covering infrastructure, telecommunications, emerging technology and energy.
In the coming time, it is necessary for the RoK and Việt Nam to concentrate on more complex industrial sectors and emerging areas of economic cooperation in alignment with the framework of RoK’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, he said.
The RoK President has launched a regional strategy called the Korea-ASEAN Solidarity Initiative (KASI) which provides fertile ground for the two countries to strengthen cooperation, not only at the bilateral level but also at the regional and global levels, he continued.
Regarding RoK-ASEAN cooperation in 2023 and orientation for 2024, the professor said that RoK’s participation was very positively received by ASEAN member countries, especially at RoK-ASEAN summit last year in Jakarta.
The year 2024 marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of the partnership between the RoK and ASEAN. On this occasion, the RoK wishes to upgrade relations with ASEAN to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Both sides are in the process of seeking tangible support for the new relationship, such as a plan of actions, he said.
According to the scholar, the RoK has high expectations for Việt Nam’s role as a bridge and its ability to help the country obtain its cooperation goals with ASEAN.
He assessed that the bilateral partnership between RoK and Việt Nam is the most important in RoK’s overall cooperation with ASEAN member countries, explaining that although Việt Nam joined ASEAN late, its role and influence in ASEAN has been increasingly strengthened, and the country is an active participant, contributing to shaping the common future of ASEAN. According to him, there are many things that Việt Nam can do in the intermediary and coordinating role between the RoK and ASEAN.
Commenting on RoK-ASEAN cooperation and the role of Việt Nam, Assistant Professor Beak Yong-hun from the School of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies under the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Dankook University said that the RoK wants to promote practical and future-oriented cooperation with ASEAN and the Mekong region. The administration of President Yoon advocates expanding practical collaboration in future-oriented fields such as digital transformation, climate change response, medical services and health care, and at the same time, broaden strategic cooperation in areas of common interest between the Korea and ASEAN, such as maritime security and defence industry. — VNS