Moon calls for regional community with ASEAN

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : Nov 14, 2017 - 21:25
  • Updated : Nov 14, 2017 - 21:25
President Moon Jae-in called for stepped-up efforts Tuesday to form a regional community among Southeast Asian countries and three Northeast Asian nations including China and Japan.

Moon’s suggestion of forming a regional community came at an annual summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, known as the ASEAN Plus Three. The regional forum involves the leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries, plus the leaders of South Korea, Japan and China.

On the sidelines of the event in Manila, Moon also met with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, seeking to strengthen Seoul’s relationship with the two countries.

“As a result of our long friendship and cooperation despite many difficulties under the (1997 Asian financial) crisis, ASEAN, South Korea, Japan and China have come to account for 30 percent of the global economy. Overcoming the crisis through our joint efforts has become a valuable asset,” Moon said in his opening remarks.

“Let us build a community of peace in the East Asian region with our own efforts, which saw us through the Asian financial crisis 20 years ago,” he added.

The South Korean leader earlier proposed forming a regional community to ensure peace and co-prosperity.

“President Moon stressed the need to further develop the ASEAN Plus Three, which helps protect the lives of people in the region, noting the countries’ cooperation played a pivotal role in successfully overcoming the 1997 Asian financial crisis,” the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

Moon called for additional efforts to further liberalize trade and deepen economic integration in the region, along with efforts to enhance the countries’ joint food security.

“Noting increased cooperation in such areas will contribute to raising the connectivity of ASEAN, President Moon introduced plans to strengthen our cooperation in those areas by expanding exchanges and our support for human resources development,” Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

The South Korean president also vowed efforts to increase his country’s cooperation with Japan and China to help achieve an East Asian community.

Turning to North Korean issues, Moon asked the ASEAN countries and the two Northeast Asian nations to help peacefully end the nuclear standoff, stressing the need to maintain maximum pressure and sanctions against the North.

In his meeting with the Singaporean leader, the two sides agreed to expand their countries’ bilateral cooperation, vowing joint efforts to prepare their nations for the “fourth industrial revolution.”

“While noting South Korea and Singapore have maintained close cooperative ties in various areas, including politics, economy and personnel exchange, and that they have especially developed a close partnership in the areas of infrastructure and trade, the two leaders agreed to continue their close cooperation to make sure their relationship will continue to develop,” Cheong Wa Dae said of the Moon-Lee summit.

Moon said he hoped to see increased cooperation between the two countries in the “fourth industrial revolution,” highlighting they are both striving for industrial innovation as a way of creating new growth engines, Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

The Singaporean leader said there will be great opportunities for bilateral cooperation and proposed the countries enhance their cooperation within the ASEAN framework, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

Moon also asked for Singapore and ASEAN’s continued support for his country’s efforts to peacefully denuclearize North Korea. In response, Lee said his country will continue to support South Korea for a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The meeting with the Russian prime minister, which came about two months after Moon’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, served to confirm Russia’s desire to aid peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear situation.

In the meeting, Medvedev underscored the importance of Seoul-Moscow ties and said that Russia can never accept North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

The Russian prime minister said Russia supports South Korea’s position on peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, which is directly linked to the security of Russia, Moon’s chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said in a press release.

They also agreed to accelerate ongoing negotiations between South Korea and the Eurasian Economic Union for a free trade agreement.

“Prime Minister Medvedev said his country was willing to work closely with the South Korean side for the Korea-EAEU FTA,” Yoon said in a press release, adding the Russian prime minister also expressed hope for increased cooperation between the two countries in the fishery and agriculture sectors.

By Choi He-suk and news reports (