South Korea's Yoon starts Vietnam visit

By Vu Anh   June 21, 2023 | 07:07 pm PT
South Korea's Yoon starts Vietnam visit
President Yoon Suk-yeol and his wife arrive at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, June 22, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol arrived in Hanoi Thursday for a state visit at the invitation of President Vo Van Thuong.

It is the first visit to Vietnam for Yoon, who took office in May, and his first to a Southeast Asian nation.

During his two-day visit he will meet with senior leaders, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A Reuters report on June 19 quoted his office as saying a 205-strong business delegation would accompany him on the trip.

Vietnam and Korea established diplomatic relations in December 1992.

The relationship was upgraded to a "strategic cooperative partnership" in October 2009 and a "comprehensive strategic partnership" last December.

South Korea is one of Vietnam’s most important partners, ranking first in terms of investment, second in official development aid and third in trade.

Bilateral trade last year was worth US$87 billion, a 11.4% rise from 2021.

As of April 2023 Korea had invested nearly $82 billion in more than 9,500 projects in Vietnam.

In recent years it has been Vietnam's second largest tourism market, and there are more than 1,000 direct flights between the two nations a month. In 2019, the year before Covid began, 4.2 million South Koreans visited Vietnam.

Last year, with top nation China still closed, South Korea sent the highest number of visitors.

South Korea is also the second most popular destination for Vietnamese guest workers after Japan, while Vietnam is its second largest source of labor after China.

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