The Mekong – Republic of Korea (ROK) Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) was recently held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on May 25, 2018, participated in by representatives from Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and officials from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand. Mekong Institute, as fund manager of the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF), also joined the meeting.
The meeting set out to review the progress and future direction of the Mekong – ROK Cooperation; and prepare for the Mekong – ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting scheduled in August this year, as well as the Mekong – ROK Business Forum to be held alongside the ASEAN-ROK Business Forum in November later this year in Seoul.
Mr. Park Jae-Kyung, head of the ROK delegation, emphasized the importance of the ASEAN region in determining the future of the ROK cooperation. He mentioned that almost 25 percent of the Overseas Development Assistance of Korea is provided to the region, and that they are trying to seek directions to further involve micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the Mekong region in the global value chains of Korean companies.
Zeroing in on the Mekong-ROK Business Forum, Ms. Kim Hejin, Director of the ASEAN Cooperation Division of ROK-MOFA, explained that the Forum will be connected to the Master Plan ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025. to enhance MSME involvement in the digital economy.
Likewise, reporting on the progress of the Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation Fund, MI Executive Director Dr. Watcharas Leelawath explained that a total of 12 projects have been funded in the Mekong countries since the launch of the funding mechanism in 2015, with 10 projects still ongoing.