“The Republic of Korea formally established diplomatic relations with the Socialist Republic of VietNam in 1992 and for the past 29 years the two countries have become increasingly friendly countries to each other,” so said the Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs recently on the relations, friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
On April 3, 2020, President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea said, “Korea and VietNam share the valuable experience of launching the ASEAN-plus Three cooperative mechanism during the 1997 foreign exchange crisis and turning that crisis into an opportunity.”
Moon and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of VietNam agreed to push ahead with joint projects in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and infrastructure development cooperation in VietNam, including the smart cities, airports, ports and railroads that they discussed at the bilateral summit in Seoul in November 2019, as soon as the COVID-19 is brought under control.
Earlier on Nov. 27, 2019 at his meeting with Prime Minister Phuc of VietNam, President Moon said: “VietNam has been posting an astounding economic growth of over 7 percent annually. This year, the World Economic Forum raised the country’s national competitiveness ranking by an impressive ten notches from the previous year in its Global Competitiveness Index. I express my respect for the leadership of the Prime Minister; he has been achieving the most remarkable accomplishments throughout this year just as he laid out in his New Year address.”
Why the introduction of the exchange of pleasantries by The Korea Post media for the two countries at this time?
VietNam greets the 46th anniversary of her reunification on the upcoming 30th of this month in celebration of the Reunification Day of VietNam.
According to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, relations between Korea and VietNam have been growing literally by leaps and bounds.
A total of 3.5 million Koreans visit VietNam each year making VietNam the second country in the world in terms of the number of Koreans visiting the country. From VietNam, too, some 460,000 Vietnamese people visited Korea a year, which boosts the exchange of peoples between the two countries 4.5 million each year
The relations between the two countries have become all the closer and friendlier with the official state visit of President Moon Jae-in to VietNam in March 2018. And in November 2017, President Moon visited VietNam again within four months after his attendance at the APCC Summit when President Moon stressed the importance of New Southern Policy when President Moon said: “VietNam is the key country in the Policy. We should try to increase and strengthen the cooperation and interaction among the member countries of the ASEAN as well as the bilateral relations between Korea and Vietnam.”
A total of 170,000 Koreans live in VietNam and the Korean community in VietNam greatly contribute to the promotion and propulsion of relations and cooperation between Korea and VietNam at all levels as well as the two governments.
Korean companies moving into VietNam and opening cooperative relations between the two countries are on the rapid increase. And there is a good prospect of further increase in this realm as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
Statistics how that 500 to 600 Korean companies, large and small, are actively engaged in the promotion of business and economic cooperation between the two countries.
And they include: Samsung Electronics, Hanil, Kyungnam Vina, Kumho Tire, Taekwang Vina, Hyundai Vina Shipbuilding, SK Telecom, Dongri Construction, Daeha Hotel Corp, Bangrim Neotex, Diamond Plaza, Hwaseung, Lotte Shopping, Daehan Life Insurance, Youngone Textile, Daewoo Hanel Electronics, Changshin Vietnam, Asung Vina, Miwon, Orion, Taehan Electric Cable, Hyundai Aluminum, CS Wind Tower, Samsung Vina Electronics, and POSCO VietNam.
However, relations between Korea and VietNam, in fact, date back to the early 13th century during the reign of King Gojong of the Goryeo Dynasty of Korea (1213-1259).
Yi Yong-sang (Ly Long Tuong in Vietnamese name, 1174-?) is the founder of the Hwasan Yi Clan of Korea. According to Korean historical records, he received the Royal title of Hwasan-gun (Prince Hwasan) spelled Hoa Son Quan in Vietnamese pronunciation from the Joseon Dynasty at the time.
Conversation between President Moon Prime Minister Nguyen on April 3, 2020:
President Moon Jae-in spoke on the phone with the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of VietNam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, for 20 minutes from 4:00 p.m. today. The two leaders discussed measures for bilateral and multilateral cooperation in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
President Moon said, “Leaders at the extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit reached a consensus that the movement of businesspeople and other essential individuals needs to be allowed so long as it does not undermine any of the country’s quarantine measures.” The President went on to say, “I am grateful to the Prime Minister for giving extraordinary consideration to our bilateral relations and taking steps to enable Korean businesspeople to enter VietNam.”
President Moon continued to say, “I ask you for your continued consideration and support so that SME also personnel can be allowed into VietNam as early as possible for the sake of seamless operations at local factories there.”
Prime Minister Phuc said that VietNam values the two countries’ cooperative partnership and expressed his agreement that economic cooperation such as exchanges between their businesses should continue. The Prime Minister proposed that the two countries continue to work together while maintaining close communication as they have done to date.
In addition, Prime Minister Phuc said that Korea’s diagnostic testing is drawing global attention as an exemplary model for the world and suggested cooperation in the quarantine and clinical fields.
The two leaders also shared the understanding that cooperation and solidarity within the international community are important as the COVID-19 outbreak is not an issue confined to a single country.
The Vietnamese Prime Minister said that ASEAN issued the Chairman’s Statement on Collective Response to the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019. He added that he looked forward to the success of the special ASEAN Plus Three summit (video conference) being planned for early April for which the Republic of Korea is coordinating cooperation among itself, China, Japan and ASEAN.
President Moon said, “The special ASEAN Plus Three summit is very opportune. The Korean Government will closely cooperate with VietNam for its success.”
In particular, President Moon said, “Korea and VietNam share the valuable experience of launching the ASEAN Plus Three cooperative mechanism during the 1997 foreign exchange crisis and turning that crisis into an opportunity. If ASEAN and the three countries of Korea, China and Japan join forces once more, we will be able to surmount this situation wisely.”
The two leaders agreed to push ahead with joint projects in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and infrastructure development cooperation in VietNam, including the smart cities, airports, ports and railroads that they discussed at the bilateral summit in Seoul in November 2019, as soon as the COVID-19 is brought under control.
Remarks by President Moon at Korea-Vietnam summit:
I am all the more glad to see Prime Minister Phuc again in Seoul following the Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit. Among the ASEAN heads of state and government, he was the first leader with whom I held a summit. I feel even closer to him because we have participated together in eight international conferences over the past year. I join all Koreans in welcoming the Prime Minister, who has extraordinary affection for Korea, on his first official visit here.
VietNam has been posting astounding economic growth of over 7 percent annually. This year, the World Economic Forum raised the country’s national competitiveness ranking by an impressive ten notches from the previous year in its Global Competitiveness Index. I express my respect for the leadership of the Prime Minister; he has been achieving the most remarkable accomplishments throughout this year just as he laid out in his New Year address.
Since diplomatic relations were established in 1992, VietNam and Korea have achieved mutual advancement. The trade volume, which stood at a meager US$500 million, and investments that amounted to less than US$20 million at that time have drastically risen to US$68.3 billion and US$3.2 billion, respectively. Yearly people-to-people exchanges have increased nearly 500-fold to 4 million. The collaboration between head coach Park Hang-seo and the Vietnamese national football team has drawn loud cheers from many fans around the world. With the number of Vietnamese-Korean marriages exceeding 60,000, our two countries have now become like a family.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of our strategic cooperative partnership. I look forward to even greater synergy being created between VietNam’s goal of emerging as an industrialized country and Korea’s New Southern Policy.
I am very grateful to VietNam for having helped the second North Korea-United States summit take place. I also congratulate VietNam on its assuming the roles of ASEAN Chair and Co-Chair of the ASEAN-ROK and Mekong-ROK summits as well as its becoming a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council next year. Korea and VietNam will have more chances to cooperate on the international stage.
I was told that the Prime Minister’s name means “good fortune that comes in spring.” The name sounds very friendly to Koreans as well. I am confident that the cooperation between our countries will return as mutually beneficial good fortune.
Details of the Reunification Day of Vietnam:
The Reunification Day of VietNam in a way similar to that of the Liberation Day of Korea from the colonial rule of Japan in 1945.
According to a report by VNA/VNS, the 30th of April this year marks the 46th anniversary of the ‘Great Spring Victory Day of VietNam’ which also marks the end of the then pro-West government of President Nguyen Van Thieu who took refuge in the United States after the fall of Saigon, the then capital of the government of South VietNam, on April 26, 1975. Thieu went to the United States after the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese forces and died in the U.S. in 2001 at the age of 78.
An article by Prof. Nguyen Dihn Le at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities at Vietnam National University in Hanoi gives a glimpse into the Spring Victory Day of VietNam.
In 1954, according to the article, France was defeated in the battle of the Điện Biên Phủ and signed the Geneva Agreement (July 1954) to withdraw from Indochina. However, shortly after, the United States stepped up to fill the vacuum, increasing military aid to South Việt Nam and sending U.S. military advisers to the country in 1959 to help the pro-West government. However, the Thieu regime fell and he took refuge in the U.S., where he died.
On the occasion of the whole country celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Great Spring Victory of 1975, VietNam is more deeply aware of the significance of this great historical event. Each of the people of VietNam raises national pride, cherishes peace, and vows to defend the sovereignty and every inch of the sacred land of the Fatherland. They strive to work harder, study harder and contribute to the sustainable development of their country for the goal of a wealthy, democratic, fair and civilized nation.
History of relations between Korea and Vietnam:
Korea and Vietnam have already had various historical contacts long before the formal normalization of their diplomatic relations.
In ancient times, according to an account of Wikipedia, Korea and Vietnam were within the Sino sphere and shared the same Confucian ethical philosophy and model of political governing, culture and social structure. Choe Chiwon (857-?), a Silla Confucian official, introduced the geographical and cultural knowledge of northern Vietnam when he wrote on the "borders of Jiaozhi" and the Protectorate of Annam. Semi-official encounters regularly happened when envoys from both countries met in China for tribute visits.
The last remaining survivors of the Lý Dynasty of Vietnam took refuge in Korea following Trần Thủ Độ's total massacre of the Lý family.
One of famous Lý survivors was Lý Long Tường, who later helped to defeat the Mongols and halted total Mongol occupation of Korea for many years, even though Korea was eventually forced to become a Mongol vassal.
For these efforts, he was revered as one of the most important heroes in the Mongol wars and became a significant part of history forming the historical and mutual bond between Korea and Vietnam that exists for eight centuries and still remains since.
Four years after the 1992 normalization of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Korea was already annually conducting $1.3 billion of trade with Vietnam, making them Vietnam's third-largest trading partner; they were also the fourth-largest foreign investor after Taiwan, Japan, and Hong Kong, having put $1.987 billion into Vietnam.
The pace of their investment roughly doubled over the next ten years; in the first five months of 2006, new Korean investments in Vietnam totaled to around $400 million, and roughly one thousand Korean companies had operations in the country.
As of 2018, Korean tourists accounted visiting Vietnam accounted for 3,485,406 persons in Vietnam, second only to China (4,966,468 tourists). Flights from Korea accounted for a remarkable 44.5 per cent of the country's inbound traffic in 2018. Da Nang, and Hoi An are the top destinations that South Korean Tourists visit.