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ASEAN-Korea Center celebrates 10th anniversary

The ASEAN-Korea Center held its annual council meeting and a reception in celebration of the 10th anniversary of its establishment Monday in Seoul, with high-ranking officials and ambassadors representing the 10 ASEAN member states and Korea in attendance.

During the dinner reception, attended by some 150 distinguished guests from the diplomatic, academic and business communities, Secretary-General Lee Hyuk stressed the center’s role in enhancing the relationship between Korea and ASEAN countries over the past 10 years.

“As epitomized by the AKC’s slogan of ‘connecting people, sharing prosperity,’ we have been trying to help make the relationship between ASEAN and Korea a close and mutually beneficial one by planning and implementing wide-ranging projects, programs and events in the areas of trade and investment, tourism and people-to-people exchanges,” he said in his welcome remarks.

He also pledged the center’s commitment to evolve into a more innovative organization amid the fast-changing regional landscape in the next 10 years.

As this year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN-Korea relations, the government will host the 2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit here at the end of the year.

“Together with the New Southern Policy as the overarching principle in further pushing forward ties between ASEAN and Korea, the meeting of the leaders of Korea and 10 ASEAN nations will usher in a new era of prosperity, cooperation and exchanges in this region,” said Lee.

Over the past 30 years, ASEAN and Korea have been making great strides in many areas, including trade volume, which reached $160 billion in 2018 from $75 billion in 1989. ASEAN countries continue to be the most popular tourism destinations among Koreans, with 7.64 million Korean visitors in 2018.

The center will organize programs throughout the year to support the commemorative summit.

In April, the ASEAN-Korea Media Forum will kick off festivities by sharing insights and views on how ASEAN and Korea can facilitate two-way cultural exchanges.

In June, the center will host “ASEAN Week” to introduce diverse aspects of ASEAN, featuring cultural performances, tourism pavilions, and lecture series. In October, “ASEAN Train” will invite people from both ASEAN and Korea to go on a weeklong nationwide train tour together. The program will showcase the culture, history and industrial development of major cities in Korea, aimed at fostering mutual understanding among participants from ASEAN and Korea.

By Park Han-na (