1. Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang, Kyung-wha had a telephone conversation with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam Pham Binh Minh on the evening of February 28. In the telephone conversation, Minister Kang explained the government of the Republic of Korea’s preventive efforts against COVID-19, and expressed strong regret over Vietnam’s excessive entry restrictions on Korean nationals.
o Minister Kang explained that the ROK government is making government-wide, all-out efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking transparent and preemptive measures, and said that Koreans are greatly disappointed by the excessive entry restrictions that Vietnam, a key partner for the ROK’s New Southern Policy, is imposing on Korean nationals.
o In particular, Minister Kang pointed out that Vietnam’s measure not only puts a considerable burden on the ROK-Vietnam relations by excessively restricting necessary exchanges between the people and companies of the two countries, but also does not help at all for the mid- to long-term interests of the two countries, and urged Vietnam to promptly restore visa-free entry for Korean nationals.
o In addition, Minister Kang asked the Vietnamese authorities to make special efforts to ensure that Korean nationals do not receive unjust treatment in the process of Vietnam’s implementation of the measure on Korean nationals and to protect the rights and interests of Korean nationals staying or living in Vietnam.
2. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Minh asked for the ROK’s understanding, saying that the measure was inevitable for Vietnam to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
o Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Minh made it clear once again that the suspension of visa-free entry for Korean nationals is a temporary measure to respond to the COVID-19 situation, and said that Vietnam will actively cooperate to issue visas as promptly as possible for Korean nationals who have to travel to the country to visit families or relatives, or for business purposes.
o Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Minh went on to say that Vietnam will make its best efforts to protect the safety and health of Korean nationals staying or living in the country.
3. The two Ministers shared the view that they will be able to overcome the current situation together based on the friendship and trust between the two countries, and agreed to continue close communication between the governments of the two countries.