Representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have reaffirmed the importance of ASEAN-ROK Strategic Partnership and agreed to enhance cooperation and further strengthen the relationship.

These were the key outcomes of the 19th ASEAN-RoK Dialogue held on May 29 in Bali, Indonesia, according to a new release from the ASEAN Secretariat.

They discussed regional and international issues of common interest and concern and agreed to work together to promote peace and stability.

Both sides acknowledged the strong momentum of relations particularly since the Special Leaders’ Summit held in Seoul in December 2014 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-RoK Dialogue Partnership.

ASEAN is the RoK’s second largest trading partner and both sides committed to increase the two-way trade volume to reach 200 billion USD by 2020 from 131 billion USD in 2014.

In addition to the ASEAN-Korea Centre which was established in Seoul in 2009, the RoK intends to establish an ASEAN Culture House in Busan which would serve to boost bilateral cultural cooperation and people-to-people contact.

The plan is to complete the Culture House by 2017 to coincide with ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary.

Substantive progress has been made in cooperation projects under the current Plan of Action (2011-2015) in areas such as food, agriculture and forestry, infrastructure development, science and technology, health and assisting ASEAN narrow the development gap.

A new Plan of Action is being developed for the period 2016-2020 which will provide a comprehensive framework and practical measures to further strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation.

During the meeting, both sides shared their perspectives on the changing geopolitical landscape and recent developments in the Southeast and Northeast Asia regions noting that instability in either could have implications for the wider East Asian region.

Both sides emphasised the importance of ensuring peace and stability in the East Sea, including the maintenance of maritime security, freedom of navigation and freedom of over-flight which is a vital regional interest.

ASEAN and the RoK also agreed to strengthen cooperation to jointly address emerging non-traditional security challenges such as transnational crimes including international terrorism and violent extremism, climate change and disaster management.

The RoK is committed to work together with ASEAN in the ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three, ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus and East Asia Summit to promote regional peace and prosperity and shape the future regional architecture.

The RoK reaffirmed its support for ASEAN’s central role in these regional frameworks. ASEAN acknowledged the active role and contribution of the RoK in promoting East Asian integration.-VNA