President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in (second, left) poses with ASEAN leaders and partners at the ASEAN Summit in Manila, the Philippines (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Seoul (VNA) – The Republic of Korea (RoK) will work to greatly expand its economic ties with Southeast Asian countries and enhance their joint efforts to ensure prosperity and peace in their region.

RoK President Moon Jae-in made the pledge at the ASEAN Investment Business Summit (ABIS) 2017 in Manila, the Philippines on November 12 with participation of 500 business leaders from the 10 ASEAN member nations.

He is in Manila for the ASEAN-South Korea Summit, and the ASEAN+3 Summit, which will involve the leaders of Japan and China.

The RoK seeks to become closer friends with ASEAN, he said, adding that the country will raise its relations with ASEAN countries to the level of its ties with the four major countries around the Korean Peninsula, namely the US, China, Japan and Russia.

He pledged to send his special envoys and make visits to all ASEAN nations in his term and proposed building a joint people-centered community that will ensure co-prosperity and peace.

The RoK Government will consider simplifying its visa issuance process for tourists and visitors from the ASEAN countries, he said, vowing efforts to build a joint community for peace, calling safety and security a prerequisite to increased exchange.

The RoK President named the transportation, energy, water management, and information technology industries as four sectors with the greatest potential for cooperation between the two sides.

To support increased cooperation with the ASEAN countries, the RoK will double its support fund to 14 million USD per year from now to 2019, President Moon said.-VNA