By Song Na-ra, vice chairman of The Korea Post media
A special summit meeting between the Republic of Korea (south) and 10 member countries of South East Asia meet in the southeastern port city of Korea, Busan, today (Nov. 25, 2019). South Korea views this as another milestone in bilateral partnerships amid its signature New Southern Policy.
President Moon Jae-in has invited the leaders of these ASEAN member countries to the 2-day meeting in Busan, which is also hometown of President Moon.
Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia has canceled his plan to attend it the reason that his mother-in-law is in critical condition. Instead, Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn is attending the meeting.
President Moon is seeking fresh momentum from the ASEAN-South Korea Commemorative Summit for the "New Southern Policy 2.0" in the latter half of the period of his office as the President of the Republic of Korea.
In November 2017, Moon delcared that the major diplomatic initiative aimed at promoting Korea’s strategic ties with ASEAN to the level of those with four regional powers, namely the United States, China, Japan and Russia. Moon has kept his words to visit all the ASEAN countries during his tenure of office.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Madam Kang Kyung-wha said, "The 30-year-old South Korea-ASEAN relationship is at another point of a grand transition following the declaration of the New Southern Policy.” Then she assured, “This summit will be an occasion on which their relations can be upgraded to another level, by looking ahead into the next 30 years." Kang Kyung-wha made the statement at a press briefing session in Busan.
Today, Moon is scheduled to hold a series of bilateral summit meetings with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines at the BEXCO Convention Center in Busan.
High on the agenda are ways to promote cooperation in various fields, which include ICT and smart cities, and joint efforts for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of lasting peace.
Business is also a key topic at the Busan ASEAN Summit. President Moon and the ASEAN leaders are expected to participate in the CEO Summit which is bringing together more than 500 business leaders.
President Moon has already met bilaterally with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the Presidential Mansion Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul over the weekend. They are on an official and state visit to Korea.