Over 60 delegates from government and non-government institutions, international organizations and the academe gathered last November 29, 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand for the Forum on Korea’s Role in Mekong Cooperation, an event organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in cooperation with Mekong Institute (MI).
“The Mekong region is not only crucial for ASEAN integration, but indeed essential for ASEAN-Korea cooperation,” remarked Ms. Park Jihyun, Minister, Embassy of the Republic of Korea. “This Forum presents the most timely opportunity to review the partnership between the Mekong region and Korea over the past 10 years. It is an excellent chance also to present a new blueprint for the cooperation in the next ten years to come,” she further explained.
The half-day event set out to offer perspectives on the importance of “people, prosperity and peace” of Korea’s New Southern Policy, which serves as foundation of the Korea-Mekong Cooperation. Experts Dr. Lee Seungho of Korea University, Mr. Kavi Chongkittavorn of Chulalongkorn University, and Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta of Mekong Institute shared their perspectives on Korea and the Mekong region’s cooperation on water resource development, challenges and opportunities, and regional development through the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund (MKCF), respectively.
As fund manager of the MKCF, MI screens proposals from the five countries of the region, disburses the grants and conducts monitoring and evaluation, explained Mr. Dutta, Director of MI’s Trade and Investment Facilitation Department. He further noted that MI has supported 13 projects so far since the first call was made in 2014.
“Korea is one of the important partners of MI,” said Dr. Watcharas Leelawath, Executive Director of MI. “We are very happy to cooperate with the Republic of Korea in this forum, and we hope this event can offer more ideas on how to support development cooperation in the Mekong region,” he added.