Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc
Dung visited Samsung Electronics Vietnam in Thai Nguyen province in February to
check the company's COVID-19 prevention and control measures (Photo: VNA)
As of May 19, 2020, the number of infected cases
from COVID-19 pandemic in the world reached more than 4,740,000 causing
tragic loss of lives of over 310,000 people.
Right now, COVID-19 is still spreading rapidly
around the globe with the US and Europe remaining the epicentres of the
outbreak. Nowhere in the world is safe from COVID-19.
Among this unprecedented global health crisis, there
are a few countries where people are gradually getting back to their normal
daily lives: Vietnam and the Republic of Korea. The two countries have
successfully coped with the crisis thanks to their excellent epidemic
prevention capacity and dedicated efforts of their people, which led to
these countries be praised by the world as successful model cases in
Despite concerns about the vulnerability of Vietnam
to COVID-19 due to its relatively limited public health capacity, Vietnam
has so far recorded only 324 cases and no intra-community infection for 33
days in a row. This is the result of joint efforts of the Vietnamese
government and people in all socio-economic areas with the spirit of
'fighting against the pandemic like fighting against an enemy’.
Mr. Ousmane Dione, the Country Director of the World
Bank (WB) in Vietnam, hailed Vietnam’s response to COVID-19 as exceptional.
British newspaper The Financial Times also highlighted that the fight
against COVID-19 of Vietnam won praise for its low-cost model.
One of the bases of the success stemmed from
implementing effective measures against the pandemic. Prime Minister Nguyen
Xuan Phuc stated that “Vietnam has basically pushed the COVID-19 pandemic
away and this is the joint victory of the Party, State and People” at the
recent regular Government meeting on April 28.
In fact, Vietnamese people are cautiously but
gradually returning to a peaceful and stable life. Two weeks ago, on the
occasion of South Vietnam Liberation Day on April 30 and International
Labour Day on May 1, Hanoi streets were full of cars and motorbikes while
many people enjoyed daily life with their families and friends at
restaurants and cafes.
On the other hand, South Korea, which was at
high-risk recording hundreds of new daily infection cases in the early stage
of COVID-19 outbreak, has continued to implement pandemic prevention
measures based on three principles: Open, Transparent and Civic Engagement.
Accordingly, the daily number of new cases has been subdued and the
government of South Korea has finally shifted focus from social distancing
toward distancing in daily life starting from May 6. Public facilities such
as libraries have resumed operations and students started to go back to
school. Also, South Korea is the only country in the world initiating its
professional football and baseball leagues at the same time. As Korean
people are gradually returning to daily life, AFP, leading global news
agency of France, introduced Korea as ‘the first country to overcome
COVID-19’ and Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
hailed ‘Korea’s measures against COVID-19 have been extremely successful’.
I am truly proud of the fact that both Vietnam and
Korea have gradually stabilised their COVID-19 situation and are being
considered as the most successful countries in fighting the pandemic. But at
the same time, I sincerely hope that, as much as their people are going back
to their daily lives, the two countries could also resume their previous
excellent relationships in terms of people-to-people exchange.
Taking into consideration the fact that Vietnam has
been the key partner of the New Southern Policy of South Korea and has
actively interacted with South Korea in various areas of economy, tourism
and culture, the two countries should begin now to actively explore ways to
normalise their people-to-people exchange to be well prepared for the post
COVID-19 ‘New Normal’.
I think that governments of the two countries have
in fact common values and shared interests in normalising people-to-people
exchange. That is the very reason why the Vietnamese government allowed
entry to Vietnam of the essential personnel of large corporations such as
Samsung and LG as well as SMEs of South Korea necessary to continue their
business and production process without a hitch. Further to these make-shift
measures, the Vietnamese government and the Korean Embassy in Hà Nội began
to discuss ways to devise frameworks to normalise exchange activities
between the two countries.
As people-to-people exchange started after going
through a difficult process, like a proverb “A good beginning is half the
task”, I hope that the airlines between the two countries will soon be
reopened as previously so that more people of the two countries can freely
visit each other. As more people move freely, the RoK and Vietnam will be
not only the leaders in COVID-19 prevention and control but also be
successful even in the post COVID-19 ‘New Normal’.
A Vietnamese proverb says that “There is sunshine
after the rain”. I firmly believe that like this proverb, after this rain of
“COVID-19”, relationship between the RoK and Vietnam will be brighter than
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to
appreciate the efforts of the Vietnamese government in normalising
people-to-people exchange between Vietnam and the RoK. Moreover, as the
Korean Ambassador to Vietnam, I also would like to promise that I will do my
best to build closer relationship between the two countries./.