Mekong-RoK cooperation raised to summit level

During the first Mekong-Republic of Korea (RoK) Summit in Busan, South Korea, leaders from five countries lying along the Mekong River and South Korea agreed to upgrade the Mekong-RoK cooperation to a summit level.
“The Mekong region has a special place under Korean President Moon Jae-in’s New Southern Policy. Seoul will seek stronger cooperation with Southeast Asia through the three pillars of people, prosperity and peace,” RoK Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho said.

The Mekong sub-region is a transnational area along the Mekong river basin in Southeast Asia, spanning some 5,000 kilometers through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Mekong is also home to irreplaceable natural and cultural riches, and is considered among the world’s most significant biodiversity habitats and food providers. The Mekong sub-region countries have enormous potential with an average growth rate exceeding 6%, a consumer market of 240 million people and a young and dynamic labor force.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attends the first Mekong-Rok Summit. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen
and Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith express the spirit of solidarity and cooperation of the three countries
at the 10th Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle Summit (CLV-10). Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

      After his visit to Vientiane, South Korean President Moon Jea-in on September 5
announced Seoul’s strategy to strengthen its partnership with countries in the Mekong region. Photo: VNA

The Mekong Connect 2019, themed “Linking the value chain of the delta, enhancing market integration,”
was held 
in Can Tho by the Business Association of High Quality Vietnamese Products 
and four Mekong Delta provinces of An Giang, Ben Tre, Can Tho and Dong Thap (ABCD Mekong). Photo: Hong Giang/VNA

At the first Mekong-RoK Summit held in November, the leaders discussed the cooperative measures for common prosperity and adopted the Mekong-Han River Declaration on establishing a partnership for people, prosperity and peace. They agreed to hold the second Mekong-RoK summit in Vietnam in 2020. 

“South Korea and Mekong sub-region countries share a common oriental culture as well as experiences to step out from war consequences to develop the economy.”

Prof. Kim Young Seon, Asia Research Institute, Seoul National University, former Secretary General, ASEAN-Korea Center,
Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
They agreed to boost the Mekong-RoK cooperation based on the three pillars of people, prosperity and peace. Their priority fields are culture and tourism, human resources development, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure, information technology and communications, environment, and non-traditional challenges.

The leaders also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the sector of forest and water resources. They reached a consensus in setting up the Mekong-RoK Biodiversity Center and the Mekong-RoK Joint Research Center on Mekong River Water Resources Management to promote natural resources preservation and sustainable development in the Mekong River basin.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that the Mekong-Han River Declaration would serve as a milestone toward a people-centered partnership for peace and prosperity beyond economic cooperation.

According to Prof. Hong Seok Jun from Mokpo National University, Mekong sub-region countries and South Korea should go beyond trade and economic cooperation to target close friendship relations.

 Water Festival 2019 held in Phnom Penh is one of the largest cultural events in Cambodia. Photo: VNA

 Mekong Delta Marathon 2019 in Hau Giang draws nearly 4,000 participants. Photo: Duy Khuong/VNA

Ca Mau Cape Culture-Tourism Week 2019, attended by representatives from Laos, Cambodia,
Thailand and South Korea, is a good chance to promote the image of Ca Mau. Photo: The Anh/VNA

As the shortest route linking Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, Cha Lo international border gate in Quang Binh province
is expected to become a transit hub  for road transport in the central region. Photo: Minh Quyet/VNA
“The Mekong-RoK cooperation should attach great importance to developing transport infrastructure and information technology. The RoK government should encourage Korean firms to transfer technology and engage in Vietnam’s key energy and infrastructure projects, and share experience in information technology such as 5G network, e-government development and online public service. The two countries should also boost cooperation in improving the quality of education and training and increase cooperation in science and technology.”
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc

Story: Minh Thu - Photos: VNA

Digital Transformation for a Sustainable ASEAN Community

Digital Transformation for a Sustainable ASEAN Community

Embracing the opportunities of the digital age will help the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) become a model for global digital transformation. Digital transformation is also a strategy for building a sustainable ASEAN Community, which will be politically cohesive, economically interconnected, and socially responsible, ensuring the maintenance of Asia's dynamic center.