Mekong-South Korea cooperation holds important role in ASEAN Community building efforts

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The 10th Mekong-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held in a virtual format on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Điệp

HÀ NỘI — Mekong-South Korean cooperation plays an important role in the building of the ASEAN Community and regional efforts towards sustainable development.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh made the remarks as he, together with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung Wha, cochaired a virtual meeting on Monday, with other foreign ministers of Mekong countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.

The meeting focused on the progress of cooperation between Mekong countries and South Korea since the ties were upgraded to the summit level in their first summit meeting in November last year in Busan, South Korea.

The foreign ministers welcomed the important results that have been obtained in cooperation on infrastructure, information technology, education and vocational training, agriculture, environment protection and water resources management.

Speaking at the meeting, Vietnamese foreign minister Phạm Bình Minh welcomed the Mekong-South Korea cooperation framework in promoting regional connectivity and sustainable development.

He noted that against the backdrops of a fast-changing economic and political environment at a global level, Mekong-South Korea framework needs to support member countries in overcoming the resulting challenges and take advantage of new development opportunities, while paying attention to a number of priority areas including building a high-quality workforce for industrialisation efforts, further collaboration on sustainable water resources management and climate change adaptation, wider engagement from local administrations of each country in the cooperation framework, and deepening the integration of Mekong-South Korea framework into the building of the ASEAN Community.

At the meeting, South Korea pledged an additional US$3 million to the Mekong-South Korea Cooperation Fund to promote cooperation between the two sides in multiple fields, as part of its New Southern Policy.

The Mekong countries’ foreign ministers appreciated the contributions of South Korea to the region via the cooperation fund and Official Development Assistance (ODA) despite challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Mekong and South Korean foreign ministers have also discussed regional and international issues of mutual concerns such as the South China Sea situation (known as the East Sea in Việt Nam), the Korean peninsula issues, and other security problems.

Concluding the 10th Mekong-South Korean meeting, the ministers adopted a Chairman’s Statement and agreed to hold the second summit during the 37th ASEAN Summit slated for November, chaired by Việt Nam. — VNS

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