The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Phnom Penh, and Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace (CICP) co-hosted a Hybrid Seminar on Mekong-ROK Cooperation here on Nov. 17, on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of Mekong-ROK Cooperation,

The Mekong-ROK Seminar provided a valuable opportunity to explore effective and innovative ways to strengthen Mekong-ROK cooperation for sustainable and inclusive development of the Mekong region.

In the opening session, Dr. Pou Sothirak, CICP Executive Director delivered the opening remarks, stating that “Mekong-ROK initiative is a well calibrated effort from the Republic of Korea to narrow the development gap of Mekong countries and enhance connectivity in the ASEAN region”, stressing that “ROK-Mekong cooperation should aspire to be more inclusive and open so as to become a more effective and trustworthy complementary to other existing Mekong frameworks.”

Dr. Park Heung-kyeong, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea stated in his welcoming remarks that “the Mekong region has not only accomplished phenomenal economic growth, but is also active in addressing long-term challenges such as climate change, laying the foundation for a sustainable development.” He reiterated that “as we celebrate the Mekong-ROK Cooperation’s 10th anniversary, Korea seeks to further advance needs-based cooperation in the region”, reminding that “with the economic complementarity and cultural similarities between the Mekong countries and Korea, and with Korea’s knowledge and experience gained through a similar history of development, Mekong-ROK partnership could achieve greater strides in various areas.”

Dr. Sokhem Pech, Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated in his keynote address that “Mekong-ROK Cooperation has achieved historic gains since the Mekong-Han River Declaration adopted in 2011”, confirming that “the Mekong-ROK cooperation could become even more strategical and indispensable in complementing the efforts to narrow the development gap within ASEAN”, with its steadfast implementation of the Mekong-ROK Plan of Action 2021-2025.

According to a press release of the Embassy of ROK in Phnom Penh, in Session 1, Assessment of current Mekong-ROK cooperation and the way forward, Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of Meking Institute, introduced ongoing projects of Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund (MKCF), followed by the case presentation of Mekong Water Management Project by Dr. Park Jin-hyeog, Director of the Korea-Mekong Water Resources Management Collaborative Research Centre. As the last order of Session 1, Ambassadors from Mekong countries; H.E. Panyarak Poolthup, Ambassador of Thailand, H.E. Amphay Kindavong, Ambassador of Laos, H.E. U Thit Linn Ohn, Ambassador of Myanmar, and H.E. Nguyen Huy Tang, Ambassador of Vietnam, joined to put forward their ideas on the way forward for Mekong-ROK cooperation.

In Session 2, Korea’s role for the development of the Mekong region, Dr. Choe Wongi, Professor in the Department of Asian and Pacific Studies, and Head of Centre for ASEAN-India Studies at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, Dr. An Pich Hatda, Chief Executive Officer of Mekong River Commission, and Mr. Kavi Chongkittavorn, Veteran Journalist and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Security and International Studies, joined as panelists to share their views on the future direction of Mekong-ROK cooperation.

The Seminar was broadcast live on CICP Facebook page, with a total of more than 500 participants joining online and offline. The full video can be accessed via the Facebook link https://www.facebook.com/cicp.org.kh/videos/167718085572323/.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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