Seoul (VNA) – The Republic of Korea (RoK) affirmed the importance it attaches to relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the 26th ASEAN-RoK dialogue in Seoul on July 1.
The RoK 's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yeo Seung-bae and Ambassador Vu Ho , acting Head of ASEAN SOM Vietnam, co-chaired the event, the first in-person dialogue between ASEAN and a partner after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two sides reviewed their relationship, outlined cooperation orientations and compared notes on regional and international issues.
The RoK said it backs ASEAN's centrality and pledged to coordinate with the bloc in implementing the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific through practical cooperation programmes and activities.
The country spoke highly of ASEAN's contributions to peace, cooperation and prosperity in the region over the past years, saying with two-way trade revenue of 176 billion USD in 2021, the RoK remained the fourth largest trade partner of the 10-member group.
In his remarks, Ho emphasised that the RoK is a strategic partner of ASEAN and the country has made significant contributions to the building of the ASEAN Community across pillars.
He highlighted the RoK's contribution of more than 137 million USD to the ASEAN-RoK Cooperation Fund as well as the country's support to the bloc during the pandemic combat over the past two years.
The ambassador suggested the two sides increase cooperation activities towards people, especially in response and recovery efforts, and work to ensure inclusive growth, and harmonious and sustainable development.
ASEAN and the RoK should foster partnerships in education-training and high-quality personnel development, he said, adding that a seminar on post-pandemic workforce should be organised soon.
He also urged the two sides restore, promote and diversify cooperation in such spheres as culture, communications, education, arts, sports, tourism and people-to-people exchange, and proposed organising Korean Day in ASEAN.
The ambassador appreciated the RoK's support for ASEAN's stance on the East Sea, and called on the country to coordinate with the bloc in turning the East Sea into the waters of peace, friendship and cooperation.
Participants shared the view that it is time for the two sides to support each other after COVID-19, work towards sustainable development, boost trade and tourism collaboration, and people-to-people exchanges.
They expressed their hope for the early establishment of an industrial innovation centre to support businesses, promote trade and investment ties and connect people of the two sides.
The two sides highly valued multilateral trade and economic links, and pledged to effectively implement the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), contributing to a comprehensive recovery.
The countries agreed that priorities will be given to food security, energy transition, smart city building, digital transformation, digital economy, green development and climate change response, among others.
ASEAN countries appreciated the RoK's commitment to cooperation in responding to emerging non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism, transnational crime, and cyber and maritime security.
Regarding the regional and international situation, ASEAN and the RoK consented to make efforts to contribute to ensuring peace, security and stability in both Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, thereby contributing to building an Asia-Indo-Pacific environment favourable for development.
The 27th ASEAN-RoK Dialogue is scheduled to be held in Vietnam in 2023./.
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