BUSAN– The top diplomats of South Korea and a group of five countries surrounding the Mekong River agreed on Friday to strengthen diplomatic and economic cooperation in their annual meeting held in the southern port city of Busan.

The 7th Mekong-Republic of Korea Foreign Ministers’ Meeting co-chaired by Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith adopted a three-year action plan outlining the vision for cooperation between the two regions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here said.

The annual meeting was launched in 2011 at the suggestion of South Korea, seeking to boost economic cooperation with the under-explored, but rapidly developing Mekong countries including Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Under the action plan, the second of its kind adopted by the consultative body, South Korea agreed to explore cooperation projects with the five countries in such fields as infrastructure, information and communications technology, green growth, water resource development and human resources as well as rural and agricultural development, according to the ministry.

“There is no doubt that the enhanced connectivity and rapid economic growth in this critical region of the Mekong will greatly expedite the realization of the ASEAN community. And I believe that it is in the interest of Korea as well since the advancement and prosperity of the ASEAN community will in turn promote both ASEAN-ROK and Mekong-ROK economic cooperation, benefiting people across the region,” Kang said in her opening remarks of the meeting.

“It is in this spirit that my government is fully committed to supporting the revival of the miracle of the Han River in the Mekong River and to reinventing the Mekong region into a new engine of growth not only for East Asia but also for the global economy,” she noted.

The action plan also laid out three cooperation visions, the regions’ connectivity with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, sustainable development and human-centered development, it also said.

Adopting a co-chair statement, the foreign ministers also jointly expressed concerns over North Korea’s continued provocations, including the ballistic missile launch on Aug. 29. The Mekong countries also reaffirmed their support for South Korea’s policy approach to North Korea.

“The latest Korea-Mekong foreign ministers’ meeting, which is part of the government’s efforts to upgrade South Korea-ASEAN relations, has been an opportunity to intensify practical cooperation with the Mekong River countries and diversify South Korea’s diplomatic horizon,” the ministry said.

 

 

Source: Yonhap News Agency