|Secretary General of ASEAN-Korea Centre Kim Hae-yong in an interview to Vietnam News Agency correspondent in RoK. (Photo: VNA)
Talking to Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of ASEAN’s 55th founding anniversary (August 8), Kim said that the two sides have to date become each other’s major partner in various fields on the basis of the strategic partnership.
ASEAN is currently the RoK’s second biggest trade partner and third largest investment destination. Two-way trade enjoyed a record high in 2021, reaching 177 billion USD.
In terms of people-to-people exchanges, the AKC leader stated that ASEAN is also very important to the RoK. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN was the most visited destination by Koreans. In particular, by 2021, the number of students from ASEAN countries ranked first among foreign students studying in the RoK, accounting for 41%.
In the context of complicated developments of the regional and world situations, including the restructuring of global supply chains, lingering COVID-19 pandemic, and food and energy crises, Kim predicted that RoK-ASEAN relations will become more important.
He went on to say that if the two sides continue to strengthen balanced and mutually-beneficial cooperation in the fields of sustainable and forward-looking growth, their relationship will develop even stronger.
The official suggested both sides step up cooperation in the implementation of start-up policies, innovative industries, electronics, biology, health care, tourism, and cooperation between small and medium enterprises.
Regarding Vietnam's role in the RoK’s policy towards ASEAN, he emphasised that Vietnam is not only an important and optimal partner in his country’s ASEAN policy, but also one of the top priority partners in its cooperation policy with other countries around the world.
Two-way trade has increased by 160-fold to 80.7 billion USD in 2021 since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992. At present, Vietnam is the RoK’s fourth biggest trade partner, while the latter is the former’s third largest. The RoK is also Vietnam’s second largest investor, with nearly 9,000 businesses operating in the Southeast Asian country.