Seoul (VNA) – Vietnamese National Assembly Speaker Vuong Dinh Hue to pay official visit to Republic of Korea (RoK) on December 12 at the invitation of Korean NA President Park Byeong-seug.
On this occasion, the Vietnam The Seoul News Agency resident reporter interviewed Korean NA President Park Byeong-seug. The following is the full text of the interview.
Journalist: Next year, Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their diplomatic ties. Could you please rate the effectiveness of Vietnam-Rok cooperation over the past years? Through the official visit to the Republic of Korea by HE Vuong Dinh Hue, President of the National Assembly of Vietnam, what prospects can it open for bilateral relations in the near future?
Speaker: Before I begin, I would like to point out that I have so far refused all interview requests from many foreign news agencies until your request. This is my first interview with a foreign press agency. It shows how much Vietnam means to us.
In the past 29 years since our two countries established official diplomatic relations in 1992, we have made incredible and significant progress in our relations in all aspects, including the fields of economy and human exchange. In terms of economic relations, our bilateral trade volume has grown 140-fold in the past 29 years since 1992. For Vietnam, the Republic of Korea is its largest investing country, second largest contributor of ODA and third largest trading partner. . . For the Republic of Korea, Vietnam is our fourth trading partner. In terms of person-to-person exchanges, 4.7 million, I mean almost 5 million Koreans have visited Vietnam, while about 600,000 Vietnamese have come to visit the Republic of Korea. This unprecedented level of achievement between our two nations in the fields of economic and human exchanges has been made possible by the fact that we share historical, cultural and even emotional similarities. It has also been possible thanks to the dedicated efforts and commitment of the leaders of our nations, including my fellow parliamentarians.
I look forward to meeting His Excellency President Vuong Dinh Hue. In fact, I had a few direct and indirect encounters with him. Last year I had a video conference with him. We also met and shared our views at the World Conference of Speakers of Parliament held in Vienna. From these meetings, I have a very positive impression that he is a very determined person to follow up on our discussions and move things forward. It made me trust him instantly and hope we could be friends.
His visit will deepen our bilateral relations at several levels: between heads of state, presidents and parliamentarians. During this meeting, I will discuss issues that require our joint efforts in the region, such as economic issues, human exchanges and current international political developments surrounding the Korean Peninsula as well as our cooperation on the world stage. I can’t wait to meet him again. I would like him to know that we are doing everything we can to ensure a successful visit. Taking this opportunity, I would also like to extend my best wishes to Former President Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
Speaker: First, Vietnam is a pivotal country in our New South Policy. It is a very important strategic cooperative partner for us. This meeting will give us the opportunity to discuss how to elevate our strategic cooperation partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership next year, which marks the 30th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. Our parliaments will also discuss the issues that hamper logistics and human exchange between our two nations, how to overcome these obstacles and how to institutionalize what our governments have agreed from a global perspective. In terms of exchanges at the level of parliamentary leaders, I visited the Speaker of the Vietnamese National Assembly last year, and now His Excellency Mr. Hue is visiting us. Members of our parliaments even had a football match once. We have a plan to continue to strengthen our parliamentary friendship program. It is against this background that we have appointed a senior parliamentarian to chair our Korea-Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Group.
We have a very strong relationship, as our House leaders visit each other almost every year. For me, Vietnam is the only Asian country I have visited since taking office as President. During my visit to your country last year, I was told that I was the first foreign parliamentary leader to visit Vietnam since the COVID-19 outbreak. I believe that we parliamentarians can openly exchange our views on subjects that the two governments may find difficult to tackle. We can sometimes pull our governments forward and even support what they are doing. In this sense, the role and commitment of parliament is really critical. That is why we have appointed a senior NA member from our party to chair our Korea-Vietnam parliamentary friendship group. I hope that the parliamentarians of our two nations will continue to establish a close cooperative relationship in the future.
Journalist: What do you think are the possibilities to further promote efficiency and cooperation between the two countries?
Speaker: At present, around 8,000 Korean companies have entered the Vietnamese market, hiring more than one million Vietnamese workers locally. Our countries have set themselves the goal of increasing our trade volume to $ 100 billion by 2023. To achieve this, the following two things must be done. First, we need to move people, I mean required labor, across our borders more freely. In other words, we must ensure the free movement of the labor force necessary to invest and trade with each other. Second, we must prepare for unexpected factors to ensure the stability of the global value chain, I mean supply chains. Just a few months ago, one of our industries was hit hard by the lack of a single industrial material. The Republic of Korea and Vietnam share one challenge in particular: how to expand and strengthen our supply chains amid the US-China rivalry. I will discuss these issues at our next meeting.
As you well know, the Republic of Korea is home to some 200,000 Vietnamese, while around 180,000 Koreans also live in Vietnam. In addition, we have over 60,000 Korean-Vietnamese married couples. So, I think we will discuss how we can take care and support these couples.
I would also like to talk about something else. When I visited Vietnam last year, Vietnamese leaders asked me to accept more Vietnamese under our work permit system and increase the quota so that more Vietnamese can work in the Republic. from Korea. They also told me that their workforce could not enter the Republic of Korea due to the COVID-19 pandemic, asking me to allow them to enter our country. After returning to North Korea, I was able to increase the quota by around 70 percent and took follow-up action to allow Vietnamese workers to enter North Korea first among other foreign workers. .
Journalist: To strengthen the role of parliament, the Vietnamese National Assembly has placed on its agenda the promotion of the digital economy, women, peace, security and cooperation in a post-COVID-19 world. Do you think these topics are necessary for the Asia-Pacific region?
Speaker: I think that these are very topical subjects and that they clearly demonstrate the keen gaze that the Vietnamese leaders have to see through the fundamental problems of our region. First, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we face two challenges: how to overcome this crisis and how to design our post-COVID-19 future. Issues such as digital transformation and engagement of women are very important in this regard. Our nation is shaping our strategies to overcome this crisis with digital transformation and the Green New Deal, which means green growth. Given this, we can see that our two nations have a lot in common.
Women, security and peace were highlighted by Vietnamese parliamentarians during the APPF meeting held in Hanoi three years ago. Three years later, these questions are finally on the agenda. Including the four topics suggested by your country, we will be announcing a total of 13 resolutions. Among them, the theme of women, in particular, gender equality and the social participation of women, are really significant because they have been the common points proposed and adopted by our two nations.
The disaster strikes the vulnerable first. Even in this COVID-19 pandemic, the least economically developed countries, women, non-regular workers and other groups in need are the first and hardest hit. When it comes to women, there are issues like how to help them recover from their job losses and career breaks. In the Republic of Korea, we have a grant program for companies that hire these women. Personally, I believe gender equality is a very critical and timely issue as we prepare to overcome this crisis and design a post-COVID-19 future by increasing their representation and engagement, creating jobs for them, by helping them to resume their career path after career breaks, and giving them more opportunities. /.