|President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (Photo: VNA)
President Phuc will be the first foreign senior leader to pay a state visit to the RoK since President Yoon took office, showing the RoK’s appreciation of its ties with Vietnam when the Vietnamese President will be welcomed with the highest rites.
Vietnam and the RoK established their diplomatic relations on December 22, 1992 but they had engaged in cooperative activities earlier. In August 2001, the two nations issued a joint statement on the comprehensive partnership in the 21st century on the occasion of Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong's visit to the RoK. In October 2009, the bilateral ties were upgraded to a strategic cooperative partnership during the Vietnam visit by President Lee Myung-bak.
On political, national defence-security cooperation, the exchange of delegations and bilateral meetings have been maintained in both online and in-person formats.
As of September 2022, the RoK remained the biggest foreign investor in Vietnam with 80.52 billion USD, accounting for 18.6% of the total investment in the country.
With 1.2 billion USD in preferential loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) for 2012-2015 and 1.5 billion USD for 2016-2020, the RoK was the second biggest provider of official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam. The RoK was also the third biggest trade partner of Vietnam with two-way trade of 66.65 billion USD in 2019, 65 billion USD in 2020 and 78 billion USD in 2021.
On the back of the Vietnam-Korea Free Trade Agreement (VKFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the two countries are looking toward 100 billion USD in bilateral trade next year and 150 billion USD by 2030, by creating favourable conditions for Vietnam’s exports of agro-aquatic products and seasonal fruits.
The two countries are also working closely on regional and global issues of shared concern, including the East Sea issue and Korean Peninsula, stepping up coordination at multilateral forums and organisations as well as bilateral and multilateral free trade deals of which both nations are members.
Vietnam is the second biggest source of guest workers to the RoK, behind China, while the RoK was the second largest recipient of Vietnamese guest workers, behind Taiwan (China). At present, about 48,000 Vietnamese labourers are working in the RoK.
In recent years, the RoK has emerged as the second biggest source of tourists to Vietnam, behind China, reaching 4.2 million in 2019, up 23.1% from the previous year. The number of Vietnamese visitors to the RoK reached 550,000, up 21.9% year on year.
Bilateral judicial, educational, agricultural and sci-tech cooperation has also yielded fruits over the past years.
Statistics showed that over 216,000 Vietnamese are living in the RoK, including over 37,000 manual workers under the Employment Permit System (EPS) programme and crew workers while more than 180,000 Koreans are living and working in Vietnam, most of them are businesspeople.
So far, most of Vietnamese cities, provinces and localities have inked cooperation deals with Korean localities, organisations and businesses. Korean investors are now present in 59 localities, mostly in Bac Ninh, Hanoi, Dong Nai, Hai Phong, Thai Nguyen, and Ho Chi Minh City./.