By Song Na-ra, Vice Chairman of The Korea Post media
President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea presented a 3-point vision today (Nov. 25, 2019) for partnership between Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, at the CEO Summit in Busan, Korea on the sidelines of their special summit to celebrate the 30th anniversary of dialogue relations.
The Korea President stressed the importance of expanding people-to-people exchanges for "people-centered inclusive cooperation" as he delivered a keynote speech at the session attended by around 500 businessmen and government officials from Korea and ASEAN members.
"Secondly, win-win prosperity and innovative growth" is necessary in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Moon added.
President Moon pointed out that the New Southern Policy Business Cooperation Center slated for next year will serve as a cornerstone for promoting Korean firms' launch of businesses in the ASEAN countries and enhancing the competitiveness of the Southeast Asian companies.
The opening ceremony for the CEO Summit was joined by several other ASEAN leaders including Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar.
Senior-level officials from leading Korean Jaebeol business groups such as Samsung, Hyundai, SK and LG attended the event, along with representatives from various Southeast Asian companies such as Myanmar's Htoo Group and Cambodia's Royal Group.
Participants highlighted that ASEAN, which boasts a population of 650 million and rich natural resources, will emerge as a top economic bloc in the world in the future.
Meanwhile, Korean trade ministry said that Korea will spare no efforts to help local firms expand ties and cooperation with their counterparts in Southeast Asian nations as part of efforts to move deeper into the region with high growth potential.
"The role of the business community is crucial in order for South Korea to join deeper economic ties with ASEAN member states," Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo said.
ASEAN is South Korea's second-largest trading partner and third-largest investment destination, and South Korea is the fifth-largest trading partner for ASEAN.
Two-way trade volume reached US$160 billion, with mutual investment totaling $10 billion, last year.
ASEAN has attracted keen global attention for its huge growth potential, boasting the world's third-largest population of 650 million, a young and dynamic demographic with a median age of 29, abundant natural resources and a high annual growth rate of 5 percent.
The ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit will be held through Tuesday in this southern port city of Busan, which Seoul views as another milestone in boosting the bilateral partnership amid its signature New Southern Policy.