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Inaugural Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit held in Busan

Inaugural Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit held in Busan

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times  November  28, 2109

President Moon Jae-in speaks at the inaugural Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit. TVK

BUSAN – South Korean President Moon Jae-in yesterday said that Mekong countries have become core development partners with his country while attending the inaugural Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit in Busan city.

According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, Mr Moon said that South Korean trade with Mekong countries reached $84.5 billion last year.

He said South Korea has become a “special friend” to Mekong countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Mekong has become a land of opportunity,” Mr Moon said. “Mekong has become a core development partner.”

According to a joint statement released yesterday, South Korea and Mekong countries have agreed to deepen cooperation on various sectors, including culture and tourism, human resource development, the environment and non-traditional security challenges.

“[We are] understanding that economic complementarity and cultural similarities between Mekong countries and the ROK will promote the advancement of cooperation between the two sides,” the statement said.

It noted that the two sides appreciated increases in the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund and reaffirmed commitment to promote and utilise the fund to advance practical cooperation in a way that accommodates the needs of Mekong countries.

“[We are] acknowledging the ROK’s New Southern Policy and its commitment to strengthening and deepening the partnership with the Mekong countries, which can be developed in synergy with other existing regional cooperation initiatives and mechanisms based on the principles of openness, inclusiveness, transparency and respect for international law and norms,” it said.

Kao Kim Hourn, minister attached to the Prime Minister who accompanied Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn to Busan, yesterday said that the Kingdom has asked South Korea to accept more Cambodian migrant workers

“We communicate with South Korea through three levels: bilateral, sub-regional and regional relations,” Mr Kim Hourn said. “For bilateral relations, the number of workers is on the increase and we asked South Korea to increase the number of our migrant workers.”

“We also asked for more scholarships for Cambodian students. We also asked them to increase their investments,” he said. “The current trade volume between both nations has increased to nearly $1 billion.”

Kin Phea, director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said the Mekong-South Korea Summit is beneficial to Cambodia and the Mekong region.

“The Mekong-South Korea summit is consistent with South Korea’s New Southern Policy that aims to further strengthen ties with Asean and India as Strategic Partnership based on the three pillars of people, prosperity, and peace,” Mr Phea said. “I think it provides huge benefit to Kingdom regarding cooperation with South Korea through the framework of the New Southern Policy.”

“After the Mekong-ROK Summit, I believe South Korea will encourage its tourists to visit Asean, and Mekong,” he added. “The New Southern Policy competes with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”

 From: KHMER TIMES  (CAMBODIA) November  28, 2109

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