Thailand encourages South Korean investment in Mekong subregion development projects
By The Nation
File photo : FM's deputy director-general of International Economic Affairs Department Nikorndej Balankura
THAILAND has reassured South Korea there will be plenty of opportunities for the country’s participation in development projects in the Mekong subregion, the Foreign Ministry said.
Several development projects are planned for this year and the next that can be carried out under the Mekong-ROK cooperation framework, the ministry said.
The cooperation was discussed in June at a meeting in Bangkok co-chaired by ministry’s deputy director-general of International Economic Affairs Department, Nikorndej Balankura, and Nikorndej’s South Korean counterpart Koo Hong-seok, the director-general of the department of Asean and Southeast Asian Affairs.
Set up in 2010, Mekong-ROK is a cooperation scheme comprising South Korea and the Mekong basin states of Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The aim is to forge cooperation on economic development. South Korea is also known as the Republic of Korea.
The collaboration is focused on basic construction; information and communication technology; and the development of eco-friendly methods for managing water resources, agriculture and rural development; along with the development of human resources.
The June meeting came as a follow-up to chart progress on the cooperation efforts and on the implementation plan of the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund (MKCF).
The participating officials also made preparations for upcoming meetings in 2019, including the 9th Mekong–ROK foreign ministers meeting in Bangkok in August, the 7th Mekong–ROK Business Forum in Bangkok in September, and the Mekong–ROK summit in Busan in November.
The meeting issues mostly focused on the outcome of the first Mekong–ROK summit, which was held by the Asean leaders and South Korea to mark 30 years of cooperation between the two sides. They also exchanged ideas on New Southern Policy of South Korea and explored ways to cooperate further.
The meeting selected proposals for projects under the Mekong fund of the third MKCF for 2019, such as the management of water resources, the development of all sectors of enterprise, the advancement of information and communications technology, along with the enhancement of human resources.
This year Thai agencies submitted several MKCF projects proposals to be accommodated with the doubling of the MKCF fund by South Korea to US$2 million. The fund is planned to rise to US$3 million by 2020.
More broadly, Thailand has pledged to cooperate with South Korea by supporting the greater Mekong subregional development in a sustainable way through collaboration between the Thailand International Cooperation Agency and the Korean partner agency. Thailand encouraged Seoul to operate the MKCF project in accordance with other important cooperation projects of other subregional frameworks, especially in Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS).
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