Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
During the consultation, one of the first activities after Vietnam serves as coordinator of the ASEAN-RoK relations in the 2021-2024 period, the two sides evaluated the relationship between the association and the RoK since 1989 and agreed that the ties have been growing in a deep manner in many fields.
Yeo Seung-bae highlighted priorities of the RoK in relationship with ASEAN in the next period, with the speeding up of President Moon Jae-in initiated “New Southern Policy” that bases on the principles of peace, prosperity and people.
He gave some specific proposals, including strengthening the connectivity between the RoK and ASEAN; optimising, adjusting and upgrading the ASEAN-RoK Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA); implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); increasing exchanges among businesses; supporting macro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); developing industry; and beefing up collaboration in vocational training and employment.
The RoK side showed special attention to the protection of labourers of both sides, while expressing hope to expand cooperation in digital transformation, optimising opportunities from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, climate change response, environmental protection, green and sustainable growth.
The RoK affirmed that it will join ASEAN’s efforts in strengthening sub-regional cooperation, including the Mekong-RoK Partnership mechanism, thus contributing to the grouping’s efforts in sustainable and inclusive development.
Regarding cooperation in COVID-19 prevention and control, the RoK Deputy FM said that the country will effectively implement the initiative on public health and vaccine, and build a vaccine supply network in the region to ensure the vaccine self-sufficiency. He highly valued priorities that Vietnam has given to entrepreneurs and experts from the RoK amid the pandemic, and proposed that the two sides resume regional trade activities to support recovery process.
For his part, Deputy FM Dung said that ASEAN and RoK shared a trustful and practical relationship. He welcomed the RoK’s New Southern Policy, affirming that Vietnam will show strong performance as coordinator of the ASEAN-RoK relations in the next three years.
He lauded the timely and effective support that the RoK has given to Vietnam in the pandemic fight.
Vietnam supports the RoK’s proposals and will help realise them to lift the ASEAN-RoK relationship to a new height, said Dung. He said he hopes the RoK will actively engage in ASEAN initiated and led forums for peace, security and prosperous development in the region.
Both sides agreed to continue to work closely in regional and international issues, while strengthening dialogue, cooperation and trust building, upholding the law and showing responsible behaviour to common security challenges.
They shared a hope that all parties will fully implement resolutions of the UN Security Council, resuming negotiations for a nuclear weapon-free Korean Peninsula for peace and stability in Northeastern Asia and the world.
Regarding the East Sea/South China Sea issue, the two Deputy FMs expressed concern about complicated developments at sea, showing hope to build an East Sea/South China Sea of peace and cooperation. They reaffirmed their constant stance of respecting the law, excersising restraint, not using or threatening to use force, and dealing with disputes through peaceful measures in line with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
Yeo said he hopes ASEAN and China will soon reach an efficient and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea/South China Sea (COC) suitable to international law and the UNCLOS.
On the occasion, he will attend the ASEAN high-level forum on sub-regional cooperation for sustainable and inclusive growth.