The Republic of Korea (RoK) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) began their 16 th annual talks on June 16 in Seoul in order to strengthen bilateral ties, according to the RoK’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The talks, held alternatively by an ASEAN member country and the RoK will focus on issues of mutual concern, including the setting up of an ASEAN-RoK centre and the operations of the ASEAN-RoK Special Cooperation Fund.

Since the dialogue relations were established in 1989, the ten-member ASEAN has become the RoK’s second largest partner, with two way trade reaching over 12.4 billion USD in 2011.

ASEAN and the RoK have also set up a strategic partnership since 2010.-VNA