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The Mekong–Republic of Korea (ROK) is in a unique position to address challenges arising out of COVID-19 pandemic since it has put emphasis on people-centered partnership as its core value in tandem with peace and prosperity of the sub-region.

Organized by the Embassy of the ROK in Thailand in collaboration with Mekong Institute (MI), the theme of the Regional Forum was “From Cooperation to Strategic Partnership: A Decade of Shared Development for People, Prosperity and Peace”  

In his Opening Remarks, H.E. Mr. Lee Wook-heon, Ambassador of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Thailand, said “The ROK is prepared to enhance cooperation on investment in various fields including infrastructure. Recognizing the importance of enhancing regional connectivity and infrastructure-building, the Korean Government is supporting key infrastructure projects in the Mekong region.” Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director, Mekong Institute underscored the role played by MI within the Mekong-ROK Cooperation in his welcome remarks, “As an important supporting mechanism, the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund or MKCF was established in 2013 with the purpose of fostering close cooperation among Mekong countries and the ROK.”

The Forum featured prime movers from governments, diplomatic corps, international organizations, universities, and the private sector who made presentations on and discussed milestones, progress, and future plans of the Mekong-ROK Cooperation which will see Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and ROK deepen engagement among members, as well as countries within and beyond ASEAN. Discussions also spotlighted on priorities in strengthening pandemic response and sustainable socioeconomic recovery strategies, opportunities for synergy under the New Southern Policy framework, cultural synergy and cooperation between Mekong and the ROK, and opportunities on further collaboration between the Mekong countries and the ROK on specific sectors and areas such as economic issues, water management and health security. Further, a panel of esteemed speakers touched upon overall aspects of Mekong-ROK development cooperation, status of projects funded under the Mekong-Korea Cooperation Fund and the areas of cooperation between the United States and the Mekong Countries.

The Forum was simultaneously livestreamed on Zoom, and MI’s YouTube and Facebook channels. 277 guests joined on Zoom from countries of the Mekong Region and the ASEAN, the ROK, China, Australia, North and South America, Africa, Central and South Asia, and Europe. Till date, 2,400 people were reached on Facebook and 255 views were generated on YouTube.

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