BUSAN – The ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit wrapped up Tuesday with the leaders agreeing to expand economic, political and social cooperation among the countries.
“Advancement of the ASEAN is Korea’s advancement. Cooperating over the past 30 years through friendship and trust, we have shown ‘potential of Asia,’ overcoming financial and foreign exchange crises,” President Moon Jae-in said ahead of announcing the joint press statement.
“Now, we have the confidence to propose a new answer for the future of the globe through the ‘spirit of Asia.’”
Moon went on to sum up plans agreed to by the leaders as stipulated in the joint vision statement adopted earlier in the day. During the first session of the day, which reviewed the 30 years of ASEAN-Korea relations and discussed the next 30 years, the leaders adopted a statement outlining the direction in which Korea’s relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will develop.
The statement, titled ASEAN-Republic of Korea Joint Vision Statement for Peace, Prosperity and Partnership, contains “the vision for direction of future cooperation agreed to by the leaders of Korea and ASEAN.”
“First, ASEAN and Korea agreed to expand cultural and people-to-people exchange, and to build a ‘people-centered community,” Moon said.
According to Moon, the leaders agreed to seek ways to facilitate movement of people such as simplifying visa regulations and air travel regulations.
He also said that Korea will work to improve conditions for nationals of ASEAN members living in Korea, and that Seoul will cooperate with each of the ASEAN members to provide support and protection for Koreans based in the countries.
“Second, Korea and ASEAN will become an ‘innovative community of shared prosperity’ on the foundations of free trade,” Moon said, adding that the summit attendants reaffirmed the value of free trade.
“Science and technology cooperation center, and cooperation centers for standardization and industrial innovation will be established within the ASEAN, and partnership in (the field of) startups will also be strengthened,” Moon said.
Saying that connectivity among ASEAN members is key to sustainable growth of Korea and the region, Moon said that Seoul will increase cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, smart city, finance and environment as part of the efforts to execute the “Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.”
“Third, we agreed to work even more closely for (building) ‘peaceful east Asian community.’ We the leaders shared the view that peace and stability in Northeast Asia is linked to the security of Southeast Asia, and to cooperation for building peace in the region,” Moon said.
According to Moon, the ASEAN leaders pledged to aid the process of establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula, and expressed support for his idea of transforming the Demilitarized Zone into an “international peace zone.”
The idea of turning the DMZ that separates the two Koreas into a peace zone was first proposed by Moon at a recent UN General Assembly.
In addition, Korea and ASEAN members will collaborate in dealing with new security threats such as cross-border crimes, cybersecurity, natural disasters and climate change.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org