Leaders of ASEAN member nations and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have approved a joint statement on the future vision for their strategic partnership , defining the orientation and specific measures to further deepen the two sides’ ties in all aspects.

The statement was issued at the end of the ASEAN- RoK Commemorative Summit 2014, which was to mark the 25 th anniversary of ASEAN-Republic of Korea Dialogue Relations, which took place in Busan, the RoK, on December 12.

Accordingly, the two sides agreed to soon build an action plan for the 2016-2020 period, and effective implement cooperation projects in priority fields for mutual benefit.

They will maximise the benefits of the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) and strive to raise two-way trade to 150 billion USD by 2015 and 200 billion USD by 2020. They expressed resolve to, together with partners, conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement by the end of 2015.

At the same time, the two sides will enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges to boost mutual understanding along with collaboration in human resource development . They also concurred to select 2017 as the ASEAN-RoK cultural exchange year.

Regarding regional security, the two sides agreed to work together in ensuring maritime and aviation security and safety in the region, exercise self-restraint, and settle disputes by peaceful measures without the use of or threat of force in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and relevant standards and practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The two sides will promote joint efforts to deal with non-traditional security challenges, such as epidemics, environmental pollution and natural disasters.

At the summit, ASEAN and RoK leaders shared assessments about the development and significant achievements in the 25-year cooperation as well as their contributions to peace, cooperation and development in the region.

ASEAN leaders hailed the active cooperation and important help that the RoK gave the bloc in building the ASEAN Community, enhancing connectivity, narrowing development gap and responding to common challenges in the region.

RoK President Park Geun-Hye reiterated that her country gives high priority to relations with ASEAN and pledged continued support for ASEAN in building the ASEAN Community as well as in carrying out the bloc’s post 2015 vision.

Addressing the summit, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung stressed that the two sides should strengthen their partnership and mutual support in maintaining regional peace, stability and security through ASEAN- led existing cooperation mechanisms. He said only with mutual trust can the region achieve sustainable peace, stability and security in the region.

The PM underlined that recent complicated developments in the East Sea testify to the need to maintain peace, stability and maritime security in the region. He called on all related sides to respect international law including the 1982 UNCLOS, fully abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea and strive for an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct of Parties on the East Sea.

Refraining from the use of or threat of force as well as acts that might escalate tension would be an important confidence building measure, contributing to ensuring peace, stability and security in the region, PM Nguyen Tan Dung said.

The ASEAN-RoK relations have seen a strong and fruitful development since they established dialogue partnership in 1989. In 2004, the RoK joined the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), becoming ASEAN’s comprehensive partnership. The tie was upgraded to the Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity in 2010. The two sides have been deploying effectively their action plans for the 2005-2010 and 2011-2015 periods.

The RoK always supports ASEAN’s central role and joins all cooperation mechanisms and forums initiated by ASEAN in the region. The country is now one of ASEAN’s leading trade partners with two-way trade hitting 135 billion USD in 2013./.