Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs advocated public health cooperation and post-COVID-19 sustainable recovery at the 11th Mekong – Republic of Korea Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

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On 8 September 2021, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, attended the 11th Mekong – Republic of Korea Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting via video conference, co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Chung Eui-yong, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and H.E. Mr. Prak Sokhonn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia.

 

The Foreign Ministers of Mekong countries and ROK reviewed the past progress and discussed ways towards future cooperation of the Mekong – Republic of Korea Cooperation (“Mekong – ROK”), especially responses to the spread of COVID-19 and the promotion of supply chain connectivity in the Mekong sub-region.  The Meeting stressed the ROK’s roles as key partner to promote sustainable development in the sub-region through official development assistance (ODA) for over three decades and thanked ROK for the Mekong – Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF) which has supported development projects in Mekong countries since 2013.

 

The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister delivered his statement, emphasising the importance of cooperation in public health, especially equitable access to effective vaccines and capacity building in order to respond to future pandemics.  He cited as an example the trilateral cooperation to upgrade capacity of public health personnel and systems in the Mekong countries under the cooperation mechanism between Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).  He also suggested an approach to post-COVID-19 sustainable economic recovery through physical, software and digital connectivity to boost supply chain resilience in the sub-region, including human capital development, synergy between Thailand’s Bio – Circular – Green Economy Model and ROK’s Green New Deal and Digital New Deal, and enhanced roles of the Mekong – ROK Business Council in supporting MSMEs and start-ups to lay a foundation for sustainable recovery in the New Normal environment.  Furthermore, he expressed support for the extension of the Mekong – ROK Exchange Year 2021 to include 2022 with a plan for concrete activities to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Mekong – ROK.  Such a plan should put an emphasis on people-to-people exchanges between Mekong countries and ROK, particularly the youths, which are one of the main pillars of Mekong – ROK.  The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister also stressed that Mekong – ROK should work in synergy with other sub-regional cooperation frameworks, particularly ACMECS.

 

The Meeting also discussed preparation for the 3rd Mekong – ROK Summit which ROK and Cambodia plan to host in October this year. The Mekong – Republic of Korea Cooperation was established in 2011, comprising five Mekong countries and ROK as member countries.  Currently guided by the Plan of Action 2021 – 2025, Mekong – ROK contains three pillars, namely People, Prosperity and Peace, and has seven priority areas, namely (1) Culture and Tourism, (2) Human Resources Development, (3) Agriculture and Rural Development, (4) Infrastructure, (5) Information and Communication Technology, (6) Environment, and (7) Non-traditional Security Challenges.

 

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand

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