Heads of delegations at the 22nd ASEAN-RoK Dialogue pose for a photo (Photo: VNA)

Seoul (VNA)
– Vietnam will work with other member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to develop the strategic partnership between the bloc and the Republic of Korea (RoK) in a more comprehensive manner.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung made the statement at the 22nd dialogue between ASEAN and the RoK in Seoul on June 20-21, which is held annually to promote bilateral cooperation and discuss regional and international issues of mutual concern.

The Vietnamese diplomat welcomed the New Southern Policy of the RoK, stressing that the RoK is one of the closest and most important partners of ASEAN.

He called on the RoK to coordinate with ASEAN to promote peace, stability and prosperity while building an open and rule-based architecture in Asia-Pacific.

At the dialogue, ASEAN and the RoK reiterated their commitments to deepening the strategic partnership.

The participating countries welcomed the New Southern Policy announced by President Moon Jae-in at the 19th ASEAN-RoK Summit in late 2017 to strengthen ties with ASEAN, and hoped to join the RoK to meet targets in this policy.

The RoK highlighted ASEAN as one of its most important partners in the south, due to the long-standing cultural connectivity between the two sides’ people.

As of 2017, ASEAN was the second largest trading partner and investor of the RoK. Close to 6.5 million Korean tourists visited ASEAN countries in the year.

Meanwhile, the RoK was the fifth biggest trade partner and investor of ASEAN. Two-way trade reached 150 billion USD, a figure expected to hit 200 billion USD by 2020. 

Cooperation between ASEAN and the RoK has been promoted across three pillars: politics-security, economy and people-to-people exchanges. 

The two sides agreed to boost the implementation of the 2016-2020 action plan to realise the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-Republic of Korea Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity.

They will host activities in celebration of the 30th founding anniversary of the dialogue relations in 2019.

The RoK informed that it will carry out programmes and cooperation activities with ASEAN countries such as the conference connecting small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the sixth ASEAN Connectivity Forum, investment promotion activities and events promoting ASEAN tourism and culture along with people-to-people exchanges.

The RoK affirmed its support for ASEAN Smart Cities Network, a priority initiative of the bloc in 2018, and to strengthen coordination activities to share experience with ASEAN in renovation, digital economy, green and environmentally-friendly technology.

The country also advocated the central role of ASEAN in the region and vowed to make contributions to promoting dialogue and collaboration for regional peace and stability through ASEAN-led mechanisms such as ASEAN 3, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM ) and East Asia Summit (EAS).

The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in coping with non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism, transnational crimes and cyber crimes.

On regional security issues, ASEAN welcomed the positive developments in the Korean Peninsula, particularly the significant historical outcomes of inter-Korean summit and the summit between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the US.

The RoK hoped ASEAN will play a more active role in the peace process and denuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula. 

The country reiterated its consistent viewpoint of supporting the maintenance of peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea as well as addressing disputes via peace and exercising restraint without complicating the situation and militarisation and with respect for international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Founded in 1967, the 10-member ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-VNA