Attending the ceremony were representatives of the Vietnamese and Korean Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Boards of Directors of the DAV and KNDA, members of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), and representatives from research agencies of the two countries. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Foreign Minister of Vietnam Pham Quang Hieu warmly congratulated the establishment of the EPG, affirming that the two Foreign Ministries have committed to promoting this initiative during Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son’s visit to Korea in February 2022. He expressed his belief that members of the Vietnam-Korea EPG, with their scholarly knowledge and extensive experience in research and practical activities, would bring about new ideas and useful recommendations to contribute to promoting bilateral relations in the current period, as well as in the medium and long term. On the basis of previously-achieved accomplishments, the Vietnam-Korea relations still have a lot of room for development in the future. Both countries are entering the stage where major socio-economic development goals are being implemented and opportunities from new global trends such as green growth, digital transformation and the 4.0 Industrial Revolution are being seized. In the current international context with many complications, the Vietnam - Korea EPG will be a mechanism to promote in-depth exchange among former Ambassadors and leading experts of the two countries on developing bilateral relations.
Korea’s First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jong Kun emphasized that Vietnam is the first country that has developed a Strategic Partnership with the Republic of Korea after less than 30 years. Korea has always considered Vietnam a key partner in the New Southern Policy. The achievements in the relationship between the two countries are demonstrated by impressive numbers: Compared to 1992, trade turnover in 2021 increased 161 times, and the number of Vietnamese in Korea increased 2400 times. Mr. Choi Jong Kun believes that the two countries moving to raise their relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2022 will actively contribute to promoting the cooperation potential between Vietnam and Korea in many fields such as national security and defense, health, climate, digital transformation, technology, sustainable development. The establishment of the Vietnam - Korea EPG will make a good foundation for a bright future of the Vietnam - Korea relations.
On behalf of the DAV, Acting Director Pham Lan Dung emphasized that the central goal of the EPG is to promote interdisciplinary exchanges between experts of the two countries, and to develop specific and feasible policy recommendations for both the Vietnamese and Korean Governments.
With that spirit, right after the Launching Ceremony, the EPG members held the first meeting to discuss the Group's operation plan and look back at the results of the 30-year Vietnam-Korea relations. The delegates had essential and profound exchanges of the achievements, as well as existing issues between the two countries’ relations. Besides the impressive results, both Vietnam and Korea need to actively seek solutions to issues regarding investment, labor, aging population and security challenges. The EPG members made some initial recommendations on promoting cooperation in the fields of climate change combat, investment, organic agriculture, sustainable development, society and humanities research, history, cinema, and enhancement of the understanding between the youth of the two countries. It is expected that in 2022, the EPG will hold 3 official meetings in Hanoi and Seoul to build a report on the bilateral relations between Vietnam and Korea, and its vision for the next 30 years.