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|Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Park Byeong-seug (Photo: Yonhap)|
Seoul - Secretary General of the ASEAN - Korea Centre (AKC) Lee Hyuk has highlighted the significance of the upcoming visit to Vietnam by Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea (RoK), Park Byeong-seug, from October 31 to November 4.
In an interview granted recently to the Vietnam News Agency, Lee said the visit is taking place amid the complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting Vietnam’s importance to the RoK and the close bonds between the two counties.
It also proves the commitment to building a greater bilateral partnership in the future, especially at a time when the region and the world are striving to recover from the pandemic. The visit also reflects the RoK’s support for Vietnam in its role as ASEAN Chair 2020.
Lee said regular visits by the two countries’ leaders have contributed to further deepening bilateral ties and laying a solid foundation for the development of relations. The upcoming meeting between the two top legislators will enable both sides to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and further expand bilateral collaboration.
Vietnam granted special immigration licenses to 340 Korean businesspeople in April. Later, in October, two-way flights between the countries resumed - a move expected to ease pressure on their respective aviation and tourism industries.
Commenting on the prospects for bilateral ties, Lee said the relationship has grown considerably over the past 28 years. Two-way trade hit 70.3 billion USD in 2019, while RoK investment in Vietnam reached 4.5 billion USD and tourist arrivals from both countries totalled 4.8 million.
Despite the existing difficulties, RoK companies still poured capital of 1.4 billion USD into Vietnam in the first half of this year and expanded business partnerships.
People-to-people exchange holds potential, Lee said. Apart from the increasing number of visitors, over 58,000 Vietnamese students are now studying in the RoK, or 31 percent of foreign students in the country, making Vietnam the second-largest source of students, behind China. Moreover, more and more young South Koreans are learning Vietnamese and seeking job opportunities in the country.
In order to bolster bilateral ties for the benefit of the people of the two nations, Lee said the RoK and Vietnam should join hands to counter the spread of COVID-19 and recover their economies.
He suggested exploring new fields of cooperation post-pandemic, such as biotechnology, medical services, digital technology, and online services.
Lee expressed his belief that the close bonds between the two peoples will further tighten the relationship between the two countries in the future.