Warmly welcoming the Vietnamese Defense Minister to the country, PM Lee Nak-yeon stressed that Vietnam and the RoK are two nations in the Asian region with various similarities on history and culture. He said that the RoK considers Vietnam a focus in its “New Look South Policy”, adding that Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia with abundant natural resources and a sizeable population.

RoK’s Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon (R) receiving Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich 

Vietnam is predicted to see the most stable development in the region and the RoK is honored to join in this progress, he said. The PM affirmed that the RoK wants to expand cooperation with Vietnam in external affairs, economy and culture. He applauded the two countries’ defense ministries on signing a joint vision statement on defense cooperation towards 2030 and hoped the two sides will develop collaboration in defense ties, including defense industry.

For his part, General Lich thanked PM Lee Nak-yeon for a warm welcome and conveyed the regards of Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the RoK PM. He held that the two countries’ relationship has grown rapidly since Vietnam and the RoK established diplomatic ties 25 years ago and the strategic partnership in 2009. The RoK is one of the leading foreign investors in Vietnam and providers of official development assistance (ODA) for the country, he said.

PM Lee Nak-yeon (3rd from right) in a joint photo with the Vietnamese high-ranking defense delegation

The Vietnamese Defense Minister welcomed the RoK’s “New Look South Policy” and affirmed that Vietnam is willing to play an active role in promoting relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the RoK.

Vietnam advocates the denuclearization on the Korean peninsula and hails the RoK’s efforts to promote the inter-Korean dialogue, Lich said. Vietnam also supports active and constructive measures to promote the dialogue to maintain peace, security and stability on the peninsula, he stressed.

The Vietnamese Defense Minister also informed the host on the outcomes of his earlier talks with RoK counterpart Song Young-moo. Particularly, he saw the signing of a joint vision statement on defense cooperation towards 2030 as a meaningful and practical activity to contribute to accelerating the bilateral defense relations between Vietnam and the RoK in the time to come.

* Previously, Minister Lich held talks with Defense Minister Song Young-moo at the RoK Defense Ministry's Headquarters in Seoul.

Minister Ngo Xuan Lich (L) and his RoK counterpart Song Young-moo

During the meeting the two senior defense leaders expressed their pleasure at the growing relations between Vietnam and the RoK, and hoped defense cooperation will play a crucial role in the bilateral ties.

The Vietnamese Defense Minister said that the peaceful settlement of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s nuclear issue and the establishment of eternal peace on the Korean peninsula are essential to peace and prosperity of not only the peninsula but of the international community.

The two defense ministers at the signing ceremony for a joint vision statement on defense cooperation towards 2030.
The two sides posing for a joint photo after the signing ceremony

Regarding disputes over territorial sovereignty at sea, including the East Sea (South China Sea), both sides stressed the need for the involved parties to restrain themselves and fully respect diplomatic and legal processes, peacefully settle disputes based on international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while implementing effectively and comprehensively the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC), soon signing a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) to maintain peace and stability, and seeking long-term fundamental measures acceptable to all parties.

The two defense ministers highly valued the positive development in defense cooperation between Vietnam and the RoK over the past time.

They agreed to increase the exchange of delegations at all levels, promote cooperation between the militaries, and step up partnership in defense industry, cyber security and UN peacekeeping operations as well as enhance coordination at multilateral defense and military forums.

General Lich expressed his wish that the RoK would be willing to share its development experience with ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, to jointly build a peaceful, prosperous and people-centered community. He said Vietnam will take over the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020, adding that as a member of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+), Vietnam hopes the RoK will support the Vietnamese Defense Ministry to successfully fulfill its responsibility.

The Vietnamese Defense Minister invited Minister Song Young-moo to visit Vietnam in early June 2018. The RoK’s Minister accepted the invitation with pleasure and revealed that he will visit Vietnam on the occasion of attending the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Minister Lich writing down on a book of remembrance at the RoK’s defense ministry

At the end of the talks, the two defense ministers signed a joint vision statement on defense cooperation towards 2030.

General Lich and his entourage then paid visits to the Vietnamese Embassy in Seoul and Motorized Infantry Division 30 of the RoK Armed Forces.

Reported by Thu Trang from Seoul
Translated by Trung Thanh