We have successfully concluded the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit. I am deeply grateful to the leaders of ASEAN.
The colder it becomes, the more we value the warmth of friends. Prime Minister Prayut, who has presided over the summit with me, has made me feel reassured and warm through all of the events. I offer my extraordinary appreciation to Prime Minister Prayut, who has served as Co-Chair, and to the ASEAN Secretary-General.
The advancement of ASEAN is the development of Korea. Over the past 30 years of cooperation through friendship and trust, we have surmounted the foreign exchange and global financial crises, demonstrating the potential of Asia. Now we have gained the confidence that we can put forth a new solution for the future of the global village with an Asian spirit that upholds sharing and inclusiveness.
At today’s summit, we leaders agreed to create an East Asian era of peace and prosperity through Asian cooperation, reaching an agreement on the following forward-looking blueprint.
First, ASEAN and Korea agreed to expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges and to build a people-centered community.
The development of every kind of relationship begins with people. We agreed to push to improve various systems to further expand freer people-to-people exchanges between Korea and ASEAN, which has surpassed 11 million. These include streamlining visa issuance and promoting open skies agreements. Moreover, Korea will more than double the number of ASEAN students on scholarships by 2020, contributing to nurturing the future leaders of ASEAN.
Vibrant cultural exchanges are also important in forging friendly Korea-ASEAN relations. Enhanced cooperation between the ASEAN Culture House located here in Busan and the ASEAN Cultural Center in Thailand is expected to facilitate cultural exchanges between the two regions further still.
During this Commemorative Summit, ASEAN leaders spoke highly of the Republic of Korea’s contributions to the development of ASEAN cultural heritage-related digital content, and Korea decided to further strengthen cooperation to enhance Korean language education within ASEAN.
Now, more than 600,000 people from ASEAN countries reside in Korea. The Korean Government will take more interest in them and provide enhanced support, including for multicultural families and migrant workers to expand their interests and help them grow as members of their local communities. We will work closely with each country to ensure that Koreans in ASEAN are supported and protected, thereby realizing the value of mutual benefits.
Second, Korea and ASEAN will build on free trade to move toward an innovative community of mutual prosperity.
Amid growing concerns over protectionism around the world, we reaffirmed that free trade is the way leading to common prosperity. We welcomed the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and agreed to uphold free trade based on the Korea-ASEAN FTA.
We also came to an agreement to jointly usher in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To this end, we will establish cooperation centers within ASEAN for science and technology and standardization as well as for industrial innovation. In addition, we will strengthen startup partnerships.
For sustainable prosperity in Korea and ASEAN, it is essential to enhance ASEAN connectivity. As part of the efforts to implement the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, we agreed to strengthen our cooperation in infrastructure, smart cities, finance and the environment.
The Republic of Korea doubled its ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund this year and will more than double its official development assistance to New Southern Policy target countries by 2022. Korea will also strengthen development cooperation in various fields, including higher education, rural development, transport and public administration, by utilizing its advanced digital technology.
Third, we agreed to more closely work together for a peaceful East Asian Community.
Sharing a common understanding that peace and stability in Northeast Asia, including the Korean Peninsula, is linked to security in Southeast Asia, we leaders concurred on strengthening cooperation to build peace in the region.
Korea welcomes the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, announced by ASEAN member states in June this year, and will work together for regional cooperation based on ASEAN Centrality.
ASEAN agreed to cooperate for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula by utilizing ASEAN-led regional consultative bodies such as the ASEAN Regional Forum for the sake of complete denuclearization and establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. Importantly, ASEAN expressed its support for the ROK Government’s initiative to transform the Demilitarized Zone into an international peace zone and discussed concrete measures such as opening a joint liaison office.
We also agreed to strengthen cooperation to respond to ever-increasing non-conventional security threats such as terrorism, cross-border crime, cyber security, natural disasters, climate change and marine debris management. We welcome the ROK-ASEAN ministerial meeting on transnational crime to be launched this year and plan to continue cooperative projects in order to build capabilities in non-conventional security areas.
Like the slogan of the summit – “Partnership for Peace, Prosperity for People” – Korea and ASEAN will create a more prosperous and peaceful future.
Today, Korea and ASEAN adopted the ASEAN-ROK Joint Vision Statement for Peace, Prosperity and Partnership and the Co-Chairs’ Statement. I anticipate that it will be a great milestone for the future of people, prosperity and peace that Korea and ASEAN will usher in.
Once again, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the ASEAN leaders taking part in this ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit. The Asian wisdom that has been shared in this cold winter will warm Asia and all of humanity.