Make the most of AseanPresident Moon Jae-in is accelerating his aim to pivot to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) through the summit forum.
The 10 Asean nations stand as the land of opportunities for Korea. The region with 65 million and land 45 times larger than Korea has been running at 5 percent on average of growth a year. It has become the country’s most valuable market after China. Vietnam and Singapore are the largest markets after China.
Private interconnection has become too commonplace. Asean destinations have long become popular weekend gateways for Koreans. Last year, the number totaled 9 million, and visitors from the region also reached 25 million. Korean Inc. has also been eager to respond to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The region also produced the largest number of couples for international marriages for Koreans. Realignment in the relationships with Southeast Asian nations therefore is pivotal for private companies as well as the diplomatic sector.
The Manchuria development and Siberia rail project that sounded plausible are examples of previous rapprochement policies for economic breakthroughs that the government has sought.
But they never went through because of North Korea. Asean nations therefore pose the most plausible solution.
They are more appealing than China and Japan and are not involved with any terrestrial disputes or have histories of past issues with Korea.
Korea can offer a positive example of a rags-to-riches transformation as well as the K-wave image.
President Moon and his aides must make the most of the Asean momentum. It can employ Korean smart solutions for smart urbanization in Vietnam and other developments in the region.