This year marks a watershed moment for South Korea and Vietnam in their 30 years of relations, as they are about to embark on a new path of greater mutual prosperity, Foreign Minister Park Jin said Thursday at a dinner reception.
The gathering -- attended by Park and Vietnam’s Ambassador to South Korea Nguyen Vu Tung -- is the latest effort by Seoul to cement ties with the Southeast Asian country for a bigger foothold in the region. In a video statement, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son promised to back Park’s commitment to building stronger solidarity with the 10-member economic bloc, of which Hanoi is Seoul’s largest trading partner.
Earlier this month, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc shook hands on upgrading their relations to a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” the highest level of bilateral ties, at a three-day summit held in Seoul. Such a meeting had last taken place 11 years ago.
“For the last 30 years, Korea and Vietnam have worked to build a relationship based on reciprocal treatment, while embracing remarkable progress in bilateral trade and investment. We intend to usher in a new era by shaking hands on the new partnership we announce today, brought by the achievements so far,” Yoon said at the time.
Hours ahead of Thursday’s reception, Yoon and Phuc exchanged congratulatory messages where they vowed to work more closely on issues that require global attention. Yoon also exchanged a letter with Nguyen Phu Trong -- the chief of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party, who outranks Phuc. South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo and his Vietnamese counterpart also praised their longstanding partnership in congratulatory letters.
“Vietnam is proving to be an increasingly important partner and we’re doing what we can to make the most out of the events,” a Yoon administration official said, referring to efforts to make the anniversary celebration matter more this time.