Korea strengthens substantive cooperation and looks forward to the future with ASEAN
In your opinion, what are the most significant achievements of ASEAN in the development process during the past?
As the most typical and successful cooperation mechanism leading dialogue and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, ASEAN has made great contributions to the peace and prosperity of the region.
In particular, ASEAN has established dialogue mechanisms such as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the East Asia Summit (EAS)... with the participation of countries in Asia, including ASEAN, countries in other continents such as North America, Europe, thereby contributing to the peace and stability around the world.
The Republic of Korea has developed a close and successful relationship with ASEAN since the establishment of the dialogue partnership in 1989. The Republic of Korea has hosted special summits with ASEAN three times, in 2009, 2014 and 2019 in Korea. We are working to elevate relations with ASEAN after establishing the strategic partnership in 2010.
Recently, ASEAN has been developing a variety of initiatives to respond to the new challenges facing countries more effectively. The Republic of Korea is also actively participating in these efforts.
The Republic of Korea hosted the first ASEAN-Republic of Korea Health Ministers Meeting in May to strengthen cooperation in the field of health, epidemic prevention after the Covid-19 pandemic; organized the first ASEAN – Republic of Korea Defence Ministers Informal Meeting in November 2021 for peace and stability in the region.
In addition, the Republic of Korea is implementing initiatives to jointly respond to climate change, such as the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Carbon Dialogue and the Partnership for ASEAN-Republic of Korea Methane Action. The two sides are also expected to hold the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Disaster Response Ministers Meeting in October this year.
In the context of the 4th industrial revolution, the Republic of Korea opened the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Financial Cooperation Center in April this year. In addition, the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Industrial Innovation Fund, the ASEAN- Republic of Korea Science and Technology Cooperation Center and the Standardization Joint Research Center have also been established.
I firmly believe that the Republic of Korea and ASEAN will make greater contributions to the peace and prosperity of the region based on the achievements achieved together over the past 30 years.
What is ASEAN’s centrality playing a role in dealing with regional and global issues?
Over the past 55 years, ASEAN has played a special role in reconciling differences among countries in the region and promoting cooperation among countries.
This year, ASEAN is showing strength in gathering the international community through organizing multilateral summits such as ASEAN, G20, and APEC.
I believe that the centrality of ASEAN (with the focus is ASEAN, not outside forces) in leading the regional order is the key principle to strengthen the multilateral order that is open, inclusive and based on principles.
On the other hand, the world's economic and political focuses are gradually shifting to the Indo-Pacific region. In this context, the role of ASEAN - the center of the Indo-Pacific region is more important than ever.
The Republic of Korea is very aware of the importance of ASEAN, and its foreign policy has shown a high priority in symbiosis and connection with ASEAN. The new government of the Republic of Korea will respond to the complex challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region, thereby strengthening substantive, strategic cooperation and looking forward to the future with ASEAN.
What do you think about the role and contribution of Vietnam in ASEAN?
Vietnam has always played an important role since joining ASEAN in 1995, performing the role of ASEAN Chair three times, in 2000, 2010 and 2020. Vietnam is making active contributions to enhancing cooperation between ASEAN and its dialogue partners outside the region.
In the cooperation between the Republic of Korea and ASEAN, the close cooperation relationship between the Republic of Korea and Vietnam plays the most important central axis.
In particular, as the coordinator of the Republic of Korea-ASEAN relations for the 2021-2024 period, Vietnam is expected to play an even more important role in strengthening the Republic of Korea-ASEAN relations to a higher level.