Leaders of Korea, Asean adopt joint vision
Korea hosted the commemorative summit Tuesday in the southern port city to mark the 30th anniversary of its tie with Asean. President Moon Jae-in and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha co-chaired two conference sessions in the morning, where Moon, leaders of the 10 Asean nations and the secretary general of Asean discussed the direction of future cooperation between Korea and the region.
At the joint press conference Tuesday afternoon, Moon announced that the summit was a success. “At the summit, we agreed to open an East Asian era of peace and prosperity through cooperation and a blueprint was created,” Moon said.
According to Moon, the participating leaders agreed to three goals. First, they agreed to expand exchanges between Korea and Asean to create a community centered on people. The second goal is building an innovative community of mutual prosperity based on free trade, and the third goal is creating a peaceful East Asian community through cooperation, Moon said.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who co-chaired the summit, also addressed the media. “The special summit has elevated the strategic partnership between Korea and Asean and will improve peace, stability, prosperity and sustainability of the region,” he said.
Following the first session, Moon and the 10 leaders adopted the “Joint Vision Statement for Peace, Prosperity and Partnership.” According to the Blue House, the vision featured their agreement to develop a Korea-Asean strategic partnership toward a direction to build a “people-centered community of peace and prosperity.”
To this end, the leaders agreed to cooperate on various areas ranging from regional security to economic cooperation and social and cultural partnerships.
According to the joint vision, Korea and Asean agreed to work together to ensure a peaceful region. They agreed that peace and stability in Southeast Asia is linked with that of Northeast Asia including the Korean Peninsula, amongst others.
The leaders also agreed to enhance cooperation in security areas to address traditional and non-traditional challenges and further strengthen cybersecurity cooperation. Maritime security cooperation was also promised.
The joint vision also said Korea and Asean will “promote and facilitate dialogue and cooperation, including through Asean-led mechanisms, to support the complete denuclearization and establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, and thus contribute to lasting peace, security and stability in the region.” It also noted Asean’s readiness to continue to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability on the peninsula.
Efforts to enhance the Korea-Asean economic partnership were also discussed at the summit, and the outcomes were noted in the joint vision.
The leaders reiterated their commitment to support trade and investment among the participating countries and made clear their “resistance to all forms of protectionism,” the joint vision said. The leaders also agreed to advance their cooperation in connectivity, partnerships among micro, small and medium enterprises and start-ups and make regulatory improvements.
They also agreed to cooperate in preparation for the fourth industrial revolution and joint human resources development.
Korea and Asean also agreed to enhance connectivity. They plan to intensify technical and financial support in the areas of sustainable infrastructure, digital innovation, logistics, regulatory excellence and mobility of the people such as road, rail, air, sea and digital linkages within Asean so as to facilitate cross-border trade and movement of people to enhance regional connectivity.
Expanding air transport connectivity between and beyond Asean and Korea were also agreed to as well as joint technical and vocational education training programs.
The leaders also decided to work together on sustainability and environmental cooperation as well as socio-cultural partnership.
Since he took office in 2017, Moon has pushed forward the New Southern Policy, a diplomatic outreach campaign to engage Asean countries. The joint vision is expected to serve as a roadmap to implement the policy during the second half of Moon’s term.
Moon and the participating Asean leaders also adopted a separate co-chairs’ statement of the commemorative summit, which explained various cooperation projects in detail to implement the joint vision.
In his remarks during the first session, Moon promoted solidarity and cooperation. “We should build a stronger relationship during the coming 30 years in order to have a journey together for peace and become a community of mutual prosperity,” Moon said.
He also stressed that solidarity and cooperation between Korea and Asean will allow them to overcome new challenges such as trade protectionism, cross-border crimes and the fourth industrial revolution. “I highly commend the advancement of our cooperation beyond economy and trade to political, security, social and cultural areas,” Moon said. “We were able to overcome the Asian foreign exchange crisis and global financial crisis because of our ties and trust.”
According to presidential spokeswoman Ko Min-jung, Moon, during the discussion session, praised the significance of the Korea-Asean free trade agreement, signed in 2007. Noting that Korea has signed bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia, Moon promised to further establish similar free trade deals with Malaysia, the Philippines and Cambodia.
“I also want to build a peace community of the Korean Peninsula and Asia,” Moon was quoted as saying by Ko. Moon also stressed that a peaceful Korean Peninsula will open new opportunities for Asean countries to enter the markets on the continent. “I deeply appreciate that Asean has accepted North Korea as a member of the Asean Regional Forum and contributed greatly to the peace of the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said.
On the sidelines of the special summit sessions, Moon had bilateral talks with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos.
He also attended the Start-up Summit and the Innovation Growth Showcase and hosted a working luncheon.
Later in the evening, Moon hosted an official welcome dinner for the Korea-Mekong summit. Leaders from the five Mekong River countries - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam - were invited to the event.
The Korea-Mekong Summit, scheduled for today, is the first of its kind. According to the Blue House, the event is the result of cooperation between Korea and the five countries since their first ministerial meeting in 2011. It said the inaugural summit will serve as an opportunity to celebrate Korea’s ties with the Mekong region and demonstrate Korea’s strong commitment to the New Southern Policy.
BY SER MYO-JA [firstname.lastname@example.org]