See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Opinion

Coming challenges call for stronger Korea-ASEAN ties

President Moon Jae-in contributed this article to The Korea Herald and Asia News Network member newspapers on the occasion of the 2019 ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit.


Written by

Updated: November 18, 2019

 

Next week, November 25-27, the 2019 ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit and the 1st Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit will be held in Korea. In particular, since my hometown Busan will play host to the events, I am very much looking forward to them – as if I have invited valued guests to my home. I send early greetings in a warm welcome to the heads of state and government as well as to the Secretary-General of ASEAN.

The Republic of Korea was ASEAN’s first dialogue partner to establish an ASEAN Culture House. Koreans love ASEAN so much that the National ASEAN Recreation Forest was created complete with cabins modeled after the various traditional housing styles of the 10 ASEAN member states. After I took office, I sent a special envoy to ASEAN out of profound interest in and affection for the region. I have also visited all 10 ASEAN member states within a little over two years of my inauguration, becoming the first Korean President to do so. ASEAN’s dynamism and the smiles of its people are still fresh in my memory.

The people of ASEAN live in harmony with a diversity of ethnicities, religions and cultures knitted into their everyday lives. The Korean people feel very close to ASEAN because ASEAN and Korea bear a resemblance to each other in prizing decorum and communities. We share the values of Asia. ASEAN is special to Koreans because the region ensures equal participation and opportunities through the “ASEAN Way” despite different economic statuses and political systems among its 10 member states. ASEAN’s growth through an inclusiveness that does not exclude nature, any person or nation will indeed be the future of the global community.

The year 1989 when ASEAN and Korea established Dialogue Relations was a tumultuous period. The ideological confrontation that had persisted over decades since the start of the Cold War began to dissipate. Rapid technological developments helped draw countries around the world even closer than before, leaving them easily affected by one another. In that era of transition, ASEAN and Korea became friends. Over the three decades since then, we’ve steadily built our friendship while jointly responding to the new times and corresponding changes. In 2018, the number of visitors traveling between Korea and ASEAN surpassed 11 million, and bilateral trade reached the all-time high of US$160 billion.

The world now faces new challenges such as protectionism and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Non-conventional security threats, including natural disasters, transnational crimes and cybercrime, rise with each passing day. Building on 30 years of cooperation, we need to jointly respond to these challenges and put forth a new future vision. The ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit will serve as a venue for both sides to put our heads together to seek ways for a more prosperous and peaceful future under the banner of “Partnership for Peace, Prosperity for People.”

ASEAN is the world’s youngest and most dynamic economic community. To transform its infinite potential into sustainable prosperity, it is crucial to increase connectivity in the region and cooperate in high-tech industries. If we enhance cooperation in transport infrastructure, smart cities and advanced science and technology – Korea’s strengths – we could jointly nurture innovative capabilities to respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Using free trade to expand commerce, fostering small and medium-sized enterprises for an inclusive economy, and promoting green growth, such as an eco-friendly bio-industry – these are also areas where Korea and ASEAN can work together.

I ask you to pay special attention to the inaugural Mekong-ROK Summit. The Mekong countries are achieving high annual growth of more than 6 percent while pursuing sustainable development, through which people can live in harmony with nature. They are also ushering in a new future for the global community through the Asian spirit defined by sharing and mutual respect.

In the belief that the Mekong countries’ development will translate into Korea’s as well, I have unveiled the Republic of Korea-Mekong Vision. Korea will help promote connectivity among Mekong countries by supporting infrastructure construction, including roads, bridges, railroads and ports, and will join forces to promote regional progress. Mekong countries’ pride and potential are embodied by Angkor Wat, Bagan and Vat Phou. The spirit of Korea’s Saemaul Undong – expressed in the phrase “We can do it, too” – will inspire confidence in the region’s farming villages and help usher in a “future of common prosperity.”

Considering the growth potential and geopolitical importance of ASEAN, many countries are announcing regional cooperation initiatives to strengthen partnerships with ASEAN. The ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which ASEAN member states agreed to in June, is a great vision that can contribute to regional peace and prosperity. The principles of cooperation proposed by ASEAN, including ASEAN centrality, openness, transparency, inclusivity and respect for international law, are in line with Korea’s New Southern Policy. As a responsible nation in the region, Korea will further expand regional cooperation with ASEAN, holding up mutual benefit as the most important value.

People are the starting point for the development of all relations. To strengthen cooperation, we need to understand each other better. To make mutual visits less constrained, the rules related to people-to-people exchanges will be improved, for instance, by streamlining visa issuance procedures and introducing a policy of open skies. Drawing on Korea’s experience of achieving growth through the nurturing of talented individuals, we will provide support to help ASEAN’s future generations grow in all sectors to reduce development gaps within ASEAN.

ASEAN’s basic principle – consensus through dialogue and consultation – provides many lessons for Korea in particular. The two North Korea-United States summits held in ASEAN member states helped restart dialogue over peace on the Korean Peninsula. The ASEAN Regional Forum, in which North Korea participates, also contributes to peace on the Peninsula.

There still remain critical junctures for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Since peace on the Peninsula is closely related to stability throughout East Asia, I believe ASEAN member states that have actively helped advance peace through dialogue and mutual understanding over the past decades will also join in the journey toward establishing permanent peace on the Peninsula as reliable friends and advisers. I am looking forward to in-depth discussions about peace on the Peninsula and in East Asia taking place at the upcoming summits as well.

Busan, which will host the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit and the 1st Mekong-ROK Summit and is Korea’s largest port city, is the gateway from which sea routes to ASEAN start. I look forward to Korea and ASEAN’s wisdom to achieve common prosperity and peace coming together in Busan, a city that connects the continent and ocean. I hope that the interest and support of ASEAN citizens will also stretch across the sea to reach Busan.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Asia News Network
About the Author: Asia News Network is a regional media alliance comprising 24 media entities.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Opinion

North Korea beefs up self-defense capabilities in military reorganization

The North have been making many changes ahead of talks. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a meeting of the top military decision-making body to accelerate the development of self-defense capabilities ahead of key events that will decide its national strategy, its state media reported Sunday. Discussions on ways to bolster its military capabilities through organizational restructuring and personnel reshuffle were highlighted during the third expanded meeting of the seventh central military commission of the ruling Workers’ Party. Details on what measures were discussed were not disclosed. “At the meeting, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un


By The Korea Herald
December 23, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Modi defends citizenship decision

PM Modi says it has nothing to do with Indian Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, that unity in diversity is integral to India while addressing ‘Aabhar Rally’ at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan today to kick start Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi Assembly Elections campaign slated for early next year, amid protests in Delhi and all over the country against the contentious Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizenship(NRC). Modi raised slogan of ‘vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta’ (Unity in diversity is India’s speciality). PM Modi while giving his party and government’s view on CAA and NRC said, “Muslims being misled, I have always ensured that documents will never come in way of development schemes and their beneficiaries.” Citizenship law and NRC have nothing to do with Indian Muslims or with Indian citizens, he clarified. “We have never asked


By The Statesman
December 23, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Rallies rage on in India over citizenship law

Thousands of students flood streets of Delhi; Assam state sees five protesters shot dead. Thousands of university students flooded the streets of India’s capital yesterday, while a southern state government led a march and demonstrators held a silent protest in the north-east, to protest against a new law giving citizenship to non-Muslims who entered India illegally to flee religious persecution in several neighbouring countries. The protests in New Delhi followed a night of violent clashes between the police and demonstrators at Jamia Millia Islamia University. People who student organisers said were not students set three buses on fire and the police stormed the university library, firing tear gas at students crouched under desks. Members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party said opposition parties were using th


By The Straits Times
December 17, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

The Chinese version

Muhammad Amir Rana asks what is the Chinese version of Islam.  TENSIONS between China and the US have escalated after the House of Representative’s Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, 2019. The move is of a piece with the allegations of many international media and human rights organisations that China is persecuting the Uighur community and violating their rights — allegations that Beijing has denied. Calling the US action a political move aimed at damaging its international image, China says it is running a deradicalisation programme to mainstream its communities. Read: Amid global outcry, China defends internment camps of minorities in Xinjiang The Chinese claim has not been verified by independent sources and mystery shrouds its deradicalisation or re-education programme. China needs to demonstra


By Dawn
December 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

China-US trade deal bullish news for both countries, rest of world

From Chinese state media. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the China-US deal on the text of a phase-one economic and trade agreement serves as bullish news for both countries and the rest of the world. Speaking at a joint press conference with Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, Wang said China has, as always, been opposed to settling economic and trade disputes by imposing tariffs as there is no winner in a trade war. China has also rejected the use of unilateral pressure as it violates the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Wang. He pointed out that following rounds of back-and-forth negotiations, China and the United States have agreed on the wording of a phase-one economic and trade agreement, and the US side has promised to phase out additional tariffs on Chinese products. The agreement demonstrates the spirit


By China Daily
December 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Biegun arrives in Seoul amid deadlock in NK-US nuclear talks

Pyongyang says it conducted “another crucial test” at Sohae site. US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a “close coordination” with allies amid the deadlock in the denuclearization talks with Pyongyang just weeks before the communist regime’s year-end deadline. A day before, North Korea issued statements to announce that it had carried out “another crucial test” at a satellite launching site, warning the United States to “hold off” any action to “rattle” the regime. During his three-day trip here, the US special envoy is expected to meet with officials here to discuss on the


By The Korea Herald
December 16, 2019