By Xu Aiying and Yoon Sojung
Korea and the five Southeast Asian countries through which the Mekong River runs on Nov. 27 adopted the Mekong-Han River Declaration for Establishing Partnership of People, Prosperity and Peace at the inaugural Mekong-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit.
President Moon Jae-in and the leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam discussed cooperation under the Mekong-Korea structure.
The declaration contained an agreement on their discussion of priority cooperation areas: culture and tourism, human resource development, development of agriculture and farming areas, infrastructure, information and communications technology (ICT), the environment and non-conventional security cooperation.
To build an inclusive society, the six leaders decided to bolster cooperation in culture and tourism, human resource development and health care. They also agreed to designate 2021 as the "Year of Korea-Mekong Cooperation" to mark the tenth anniversary of such collaboration and strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges within the region.
The declaration also mentioned the promotion of prosperity in the Mekong countries through the sharing of Korea's knowledge and knowhow in development, especially in agriculture, infrastructure and ICT. Business activity between Korea and the Mekong region will also be boosted by forming a Korea-Mekong business council.a
In his keynote speech at the summit, President Moon said, "Today will be remembered as a new year in Korea-Mekong cooperation. We have laid the cornerstone that will remarkably develop Korea-Mekong relations."
"The Mekong-Han River Declaration, which we adopted as the outcome of the summit, will serve as a milestone that goes beyond economic cooperation and toward the goal of partnership for people-centered peace and prosperity."
From next year, Korea and the five Mekong countries will hold this summit on the sidelines of ASEAN-related events annually to boost cooperation.