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Press Releases

ROK and Mekong Countries, Emerging as Growth Engine for World Economy, Open up Future of Common Prosperity (Outcome of 7th ROK-Mekong Foreign Ministers’ Meeting)

Date
2017-09-01
hit
2192

1. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha co-chaired the 7th ROK-Mekong Foreign Ministers’ meeting with Foreign Minister of Laos Saleumxay Kommasith in Busan on September 1, and discussed ways to step up substantive cooperation with Mekong countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand), which are emerging as a growth engine for the world economy.

2. The Foreign Ministers of the two sides took note that since the launch of the ROK-Mekong cooperation mechanism in 2011, cooperation between the two sides has continuously expanded, as demonstrated by the successful implementation of the first ROK-Mekong action plan (2014-2017); the establishment and operation of the ROK-Mekong cooperation fund; the ROK’s bilateral ODA to Mekong countries; the ROK-Mekong annual business forum; and policy coordination with other donors to Mekong countries, including the US and Japan.

o In particular, the Mekong countries spoke highly of the ROK government’s remarkable achievements, saying that the government adopted six new projects this year, while operating the ROK-Mekong cooperation fund with an annual budget of US$1 million since 2013.

3. The Foreign Ministers of the two sides adopted the second ROK-Mekong action plan (2017-2020), which sets out guidelines for cooperation between the two sides for the next three years, at the meeting, and agreed to work together to successfully implement the plan.

o The second ROK-Mekong action plan specifies three visions for the ROK-Mekong cooperation (enhancing connectivity, sustainable development and people-centered development), as well as goals and projects in six priority areas of cooperation being pursued under the visions (infrastructure, information and communication technology, green growth, water resource development, agricultural and rural development, and human resource development).

4. The Mekong side said that the 5th ROK-Mekong business forum will take place in Vientiane, Laos, from October 19 to 20 this year. Minister Kang noted that the forum has contributed to facilitating investment and exchanges in the private sector between the ROK and Mekong countries, and said that the ROK government will provide active cooperation to ensure the success of the 5th forum, to be held in October this year.

o Korean middle- and small-sized companies which have a lot of interest in making inroads into the Mekong region are expected to participate in the forum. The Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with the ASEAN-Korea Centre, will invite applications from Korean companies for participation in the forum.

5. Concerning the situation in the region, Minister Kang talked about the grave situation on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of the recent ballistic missile launch by North Korea, and explained that the ROK government is making efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and establish a lasting peace on the Peninsula, while responding firmly to North Korea’s provocations.

o In the chairs’ joint statement, an outcome document of the meeting, the two sides expressed concern over North Korea’s repeated provocations, including the ballistic missile launch on August 29, and the Mekong countries expressed their support for the ROK’s North Korea policy. This reaffirmed the countries’ support for the ROK government’s North Korea policy, which they had already expressed at the ROK-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meeting in early August.

6. The ROK-Mekong Foreign Ministers’ meeting, which took place in the ROK three years after the meeting in Seoul in 2014, was part of the ROK government’s efforts to elevate its relations with ASEAN to a higher level under its policy of placing importance on ASEAN. The meeting served as an opportunity to strengthen substantive cooperation with Mekong countries and diversify the ROK’s diplomatic horizons.


* unofficial translation