ASEAN, SoKor to advance bilateral ties

MANILA, Aug 6 -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Korea vowed to advance their existing bilateral relations.

During the ASEAN- Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministerial Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Sunday, Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said ROK's government is committed to expand its diplomatic horizon by strengthening partnership with ASEAN.

Kang noted that Korean President Moon Jae-in sent a special envoy to ASEAN, reiterating the importance of ASEAN-ROK relations.

She added that the Korean government has three directions in strengthening ASEAN-ROK ties, which include pursuing mutual and sustainable prosperity, increasing people-to-people exchanges, and partnering in building a peaceful and safe new East Asia.

In translating these aspirations into reality, we should continue to carry out the Plan of Action to implement the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-ROK Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity for the year 2016-2020, Kang said.

And we count on ASEAN's undivided support and collaboration in this process, added Kang, who is the first female Korean foreign minister.

Moreover, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon -- the co-chair for the ASEAN-ROK ministerial Meeting, reaffirmed the regional bloc's readiness to work with South Korea to further strengthen and elevate ASEAN- ROK strategic partnership.

Cambodia is the country coordinator for the ASEAN-ROK dialogue relations.

ASEAN is very pleased with the progress of our cooperation with the ROK in many areas covering from the sensitive political and security areas to trade and investment, culture, arts, and people-to-people exchange, Prak Sokhon said.

He said an ASEAN Cultural House in Busan will be launched next month.

On the economic front, the diplomat emphasized that ASEAN is keen on concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership -- a free trade agreement (FTA) among ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, China, and South Korea.

Prak Sokhon likewise noted that the ASEAN- Korea FTA will help the two parties achieve their USD200-billion bilateral trade target by 2020, as well as help micro, small, and medium enterprises in ASEAN and ROK.

Source: Philippines News Agency