President Moon Jae-in has reiterated his resolve to further improve South Korea's relationship with Southeast Asian nations ahead of his visit to three regional countries next week.
In a special contribution to the Asia News Network released on Mar. 7, 2019, Moon pledged that South Korea and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will expand their partnership to various areas to "usher in a more prosperous and peaceful future."
"Our cooperation will further expand into other areas going forward, including advanced science and technology, information and communication technology, transport, energy and the defense industry," he said in the article published by the association of more than 20 news organizations in Asia.
"Our cooperation will also make constructive contributions to strengthening connectivity in the region, a goal pursued by ASEAN," Moon added.
He is set to embark on a trip to Brunei, Cambodia and Malaysia, three of the 10 member states of ASEAN, this Sunday.
Moon introduced the New Southern Policy, one of his key foreign policy initiatives aimed at expanding Seoul's diplomatic and economic cooperation with its Asian neighbors, in the article.
He also said he and ASEAN leaders share a vision "encapsulated by such keywords as people, prosperity and peace."
South Korea seeks to boost its bilateral trade with ASEAN countries to US$200 billion by 2020 from a record high of $160 billion in 2018.
The number of visitors traveling between the two sides surpassed 10 million for the first time in history in 2018, Moon noted.
Moon also offered his gratitude to the people of ASEAN for their support for South Korea in the 1950-53 Korean War.
He expressed hope that South Korea-ASEAN ties will continue to expand, noting that the sides mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations this year.
"To celebrate, the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit will be held in Korea at the end of this year. I hope that it proves an opportunity to bring the future vision of creating a people-centered community of peace and prosperity closer to reality," Moon said.
"I am confident that when ASEAN and Korea join forces, we will be able to enjoy unprecedented happiness, prosperity and peace that we have never experienced before," he added. (Yonhap)
Kim Tae-moon firstname.lastname@example.org
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