RoK President unveils initiative to deepen cooperation with Southeast Asia

November 13, 2020 - 09:58

The Republic of Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has announced the “New Southern Policy Plus” initiative to enhance the country’s regional diplomacy at the Korea-ASEAN Summit, held via satellite link.


The Republic of Korea’s President Moon Jae-in (centre) speaks at the 21st ASEAN – Republic of Korea Summit on Thursday. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất

HÀ NỘI —  The Republic of Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has announced the “New Southern Policy Plus” initiative to enhance the country’s regional diplomacy at the Korea-ASEAN Summit, held via satellite link.

Moon stressed the need for international cooperation in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, saying the newly unveiled strategy reflects the changing needs of Korea and the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc, in light of the virus crisis.

“I think that it is very fortunate that the Korea-ASEAN Summit is held at a time when closer solidarity and cooperation is needed,” Moon was quoted by The Korea Herald as saying on Thursday.

Adding that Korea and the ASEAN nations had worked together and that his New Southern Policy had achieved significant results, Moon introduced the new edition of the policy.

“New Southern Policy Plus contains new possibilities in seven core areas, such as comprehensive public health cooperation," the leader said.

"It will allow the creation of ‘people centric community of peace and prosperity faster, while leading the way into the post-COVID era.”

Addressing the summit, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said as leading economic partners of each other, ASEAN and the RoK should continue enhancing coordination, especially adopting frameworks led by ASEAN, contributing to peace, stability and development in the region.

The RoK President vowed to work with ASEAN to overcome challenges caused by COVID-19. He also announced a contribution of US$1 million to ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund and a package of medical supplies worth $5 million to the bloc.

He expressed his support for the regional comprehensive recovery framework and efforts to resume trade and investment cooperation via facilitating travelling between both sides.

On orientations of future cooperation, both sides agreed to work closely to drive back the pandemic, ensure public access to any COVID-19 vaccine and improve the capacity of urgent public health system.

They promised to realise common initiatives on promoting ASEAN-RoK economic connectivity in response to the pandemic, step up cooperation in digital economy, innovation, high-quality human resources development, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and start-ups, creating a strong driving force for their economies.

ASEAN proposed the RoK continue supporting the bloc’s pandemic prevention and control initiatives, including regional reserve of medical supplies and promoting recovery via the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework announced at the 37th ASEAN Summit.

The two sides agreed to bolster even development cooperation, support efforts to narrow the development gap, sub-regional development coordination, improve the capacity of responding to emerging challenges such as climate change, disaster management, environment protection, sustainable forest protection and plastic waste reduction.

On regional and global issues of mutual concern, the leaders highlighted the importance of ensuring peace, security, stability, maritime and aviation freedom in the region, including the South China Sea (called East Sea by Việt Nam), as well as the settlement of disputes by peaceful means in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

PM Phúc also called for further increasing cooperation in COVID-19 research and production, stably maintain trade and investment, and step up green and sustainable development.

With the official upgrade of Mekong –RoK sub-regional cooperation to a summit level last year, the Vietnamese PM expected the RoK to continue supporting efforts to promote sub-regional sustainable development, including the Mekong Sub-region, and incorporate sub-regional development efforts into ASEAN Community’s common development strategy.

He also underlined the importance of serious implementation of the UN Security Council’s related resolutions and agreements among parties concerned for a Korean peninsula of peace, stability and denuclearisation. — The Korea Herald/VNS