According to the presidential office, South Korea will provide more than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Vietnam next month as the two countries emphasize cooperation as strategic partners.
According to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Kyung-mee, the commitment was made during President Moon Jae-meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. It was not specified which COVID-19 vaccines would be distributed.
It was Korea’s first direct commitment to a foreign country for the COVID-19 vaccine. Cheong Wa Dae stated that the decision was made because the countries had collaborated since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic by sharing supplies.
It is also believed that Korea is considering using COVID-19 vaccines in its diplomacy, as the country aims to achieve a vaccination rate of 70% by the end of October.
Since upgrading to a “strategic cooperative partnership” in 2009, the two countries have deepened their cooperation in a variety of areas as “optimal partners,” according to Moon and Phuc. Moon stated that he hoped bilateral trade would reach $100 billion by 2023.
A large number of Korean companies in the biopharmaceutical, infrastructure, and finance sectors have been eyeing expansion into the Vietnamese market, which requires continued attention and support for the two countries’ partnership to grow, according to Moon.
Moon also thanked Vietnam for selecting Korean as its first foreign language, allowing the language to be taught in primary and secondary schools beginning in August. Koreans’ interest in Vietnam has also grown, according to Moon, who hopes for stronger cultural and linguistic ties between the peoples of both countries.
Cheong Wa Dae stated that Phuc expressed gratitude for Korea’s investment in and cooperation with Vietnam as a strategic cooperative partner, and that Vietnam had much to learn from Korea’s socioeconomic recovery and pandemic management.
Moon and Phuc met for the first time on Tuesday, following Phuc’s election as president in April. He had been the Prime Minister of Vietnam since 2016.