What are the prospects of cultural cooperation between the two countries?
Vietnam is a very special country to the RoK and a key partner in the New South Policy that our government is pursuing. Therefore, I plan to implement many cultural exchanges with Vietnam and strengthen cooperation with ASEAN to enhance cultural relations between the two countries.
For last year’s cultural events such as a Korean Night, the National Foundation Day, and the RoK-Vietnam Film Festival, we invited some classic and traditional art troupes and famous RoK actors to Vietnam. In January 2019, at the RoK-Vietnam New Year Concert, Vietnamese pianist Dang Thai Son performed with the Korean Symphony Orchestra in the Hanoi Opera House, kicking off a wide range of cultural and art exchange activities between the two countries.
I plan to make greater efforts to introduce to Vietnamese people the new faces of RoK’s high-end culture. I will also pay more attention to sports exchanges between the two countries.
Tourism cooperation between the two countries has also brought good results. What are your expectations?
As you know, residents of the three major cities of Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City are able to apply for five-year RoK visas from December 3, 2018, allowing them to enter the RoK multiple times. Through this policy, Vietnamese people will enter the RoK more conveniently, opening up opportunities to visit the country and experience culture.
When the two countries overcome the framework of economic benefits and expand people-to-people exchanges, it will become closer, contributing to building a common prosperous culture and economy.
Could you tell us more about the plans to promote the Vietnam-RoK strategic partnership?
In the process of rapid integration into the global economy, Vietnam has seen opportunities, and faced challenges. I hope the two countries would respond positively to changes to upgrade the Vietnam-RoK strategic partnership to new heights. To achieve the goal, I wish to promote cultural exchanges as well as people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, and consolidate economic cooperation on the basis of strengthening cooperation in politics, security and high-level exchanges.
We are planning to develop the RoK-Vietnam Vision Center, where will be a joint collaboration place between RoK agencies and community in Hanoi and Vietnamese partners. We will invite RoK associations and government agencies working in Hanoi to this center. It will be developed to become a one-stop service provider for RoK nationals, businesses, tourists, and Vietnamese companies wishing to cooperate with RoK. The center, built with the support of the Vietnamese side, is expected to play a strong role in promoting the strategic partnership.
What about visas?
Since December 3, 2018, Vietnamese residents of the three major cities of Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City are eligible for five-year, multi-entry visas to the RoK. This is a breakthrough in the visa policy, which in basic terms nearly exempts the residents of these cities from obtaining visas. The RoK government would consider extending the new policy to those who are permanent residents of other Vietnamese localities.
To expand people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, I hope the Vietnamese side will implement reciprocal measures related to visas for RoK citizens. I also hope RoK nationals and investors will easily get long-stay visas, so that they can focus on economic activities in Vietnam.
We are seeing more and more retired people from the RoK who want to spend long periods in Vietnam. Therefore, I am asking Vietnam to consider applying a vacation visa policy. I will also discuss with relevant agencies visa exemptions for the husband/wife in mixed RoK-Vietnamese families; and work visa exemptions for Vietnamese nurses so that they can work at nursing homes in the RoK.