By Lee Hana
President Moon Jae-in on Nov. 12 held his weekly Cabinet meeting in Busan, the nation's largest port city set to host two summits later this month with member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
"The ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit and the inaugural Korea-Mekong Summit will be a midterm review of the past 2 1/2 years of the New Southern Policy," he said, stressing the significance of the two events.
"The ASEAN region is growing faster than any other region in the world and has a lot of potential. Korea should work together with ASEAN member countries to bring peace and prosperity to Asia. Our relationship with ASEAN has improved at a rapid rate in all areas of cooperation, from diplomacy and trade to cultural and interpersonal exchanges."
Citing the results of the ASEAN Plus Three Summit on Nov. 4 in Bangkok, Thailand, the president highlighted the unanimous agreement on free trade reached by the nations negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
"The RCEP will improve conditions for trade and commerce between Korea and ASEAN and accelerate the effects of the New Southern Policy," he said.
"The New Southern Policy will come to fruition through cooperation with ASEAN. The policy pushes for development and harmonious cooperation with each ASEAN country. As such, I ask that this underlying goal be reflected in the upcoming summits and the results that follow."
Busan will host the two summits from Nov. 25-27.