In Focus : 2019 Mekong - ROK Senior Officials’ Meeting in Bangkok news3

In Focus : 2019 Mekong - ROK Senior Officials’ Meeting in Bangkok

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea co-hosted the First Mekong – ROK Senior Officials’ Meeting for 2019 on 14 June 2019 at Vithes Samosorn, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangkok. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Nikorndej Balankura, Deputy Director-General, Department of International Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, and Mr. Koo Hong-seok, Director-General, Department of ASEAN and Southeast Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.
The meeting reviewed the progress of Mekong – ROK cooperation and the implementation of activities under the Mekong – ROK Plan of Action (2017 – 2020). The Senior Officials also deliberated on preparations for important meetings to be held in the second half of 2019 namely (1) 9th Mekong – ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok, (2) 7th Mekong – ROK Business Forum in Bangkok, and most importantly (3) 1st Mekong – ROK Summit in Busan. Particular attention was devoted to the conceptualisation of the Inaugural Mekong – ROK Summit to be held in conjunction with the ASEAN – ROK Commemorative Summit. The meeting also exchanged views on the future direction of the Mekong – ROK cooperation in accordance with the Republic of Korea’s “New Southern Policy”. The Mekong Institute delivered a presentation on the progress of implementation of projects under the Mekong – ROK Cooperation Fund (MKCF) and updated the meeting on the selection process for project concept notes submitted for the 3rd MKCF for 2019. This year, relevant Thai agencies submitted a record number of project proposals reflecting the doubling of the MKCF fund by the Republic of Korea to $US 2 million for 2019 as well as its plan to increase the Fund to $US 3 million by 2020. Thai project proposals cover issues such as water resources management, promotion and facilitation of MSMEs, development of ICT, and human resources development. Thailand also reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with the Republic of Korea in implementing trilateral projects through collaboration between the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and urged the Republic of Korea to align MKCF projects with prioritised areas of other sub-regional frameworks, particularly Ayeyawady – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). 
Founded in 2010, the Mekong – ROK cooperation aims to promote six areas of cooperation, namely, infrastructure, information and communications technology, green growth, water resources management, agriculture and rural development and human resources development. The Member States consist of Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Viet Nam and the Republic of Korea.