Ambassador Arunrung Phothong Humphreys attended the the Mekong - Republic of Korea Cooperation (Mekong - ROK) Senior Officials’ Meeting via teleconference, where she advocated cooperation on response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly cooperation on equitable and timely vaccine accessibility as well as sustainable post-COVID-19 economic recovery. The meeting also discussed plans for the upcoming Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Summit.
On 14 July 2021, H.E. Ms. Arunrung Phothong Humphreys, Ambassador attached to the Ministry for Mekong Cooperation, represented Thailand at the virtual Mekong - Republic of Korea Cooperation (Mekong - ROK) Senior Officials’ Meeting co-chaired by ROK and Cambodia. The Senior Officials exchanged views in a frank and constructive manner on the past achievements and future direction of Mekong - ROK, as well as preparation for the upcoming Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in August 2021 and Summit in October 2021.
The meeting reaffirmed the Mekong - ROK Strategic Partnership for the promotion of people’s wellbeing, peace and prosperity in the Mekong sub-region. The Senior Officials also discussed the roles of Mekong - ROK in supporting member countries’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic in an effective manner, particularly cooperation on equitable and timely vaccine accessibility. In addition, they discussed approaches to economic recovery, which stress on cooperation on connectivity and integrated supply chains through free trade arrangements, digitalisation and physical connectivity focusing on public - private partnership, recovery of tourism industry, and support for MSMEs and start-ups by the Mekong - ROK Business Council. The Senior Officials also attached importance to environmental and climate change cooperation as well as sustainable post-COVID-19 recovery, during which Thailand encouraged member countries to employ the BCG economy model for a balanced economic recovery between growth and environmental conservation.
The meeting expressed appreciation to the ROK’s contribution to development projects through the Mekong - ROK Cooperation Fund (MKCF) which totalled approximately USD 9.5 million during 2013 - 2020. The Mekong Institute (MI) has been tasked by the ROK as the MKCF fund manager and project administrator.
In addition, the meeting took note of the ROK’s appointment of Mr. Lee Kwang-soo, a Korean actor, as Goodwill Ambassador for the Mekong - ROK Exchange Year 2021, and agreed to extend the Exchange Year to 2022 with a view to organising more activities when the COVID-19 situation improves.
Mekong - ROK is one among important sub-regional cooperation frameworks, such as Mekong - Lancang Cooperation, Mekong - U.S. Partnership, Mekong - Japan Cooperation, Mekong - Ganga Cooperation and ACMECS, all of which annually hold Senior Officials’ and Foreign Ministers’ meetings.