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[ASEAN-Korea summit] Jim Rogers foresees bright, exciting future for S. Korea

Renowned American businessman and financial commentator Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, said Monday that the Korean Peninsula will become very appealing in the next couple of decades, while the ASEAN region will also emerge as a hot market for investments.

He was speaking at a business forum of the ASEAN-ROK CEO Summit under the theme of “Collaboration and Tasks toward ASEAN-ROK Co-prosperity.”

“The opening up (and unification) of the Korean Peninsula will combine North Korea’s natural resources and workers with South Korean capital and manufacturing, leading to an economic revival,” he said. 


Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, speaks at the ASEAN-ROK CEO Summit held on Monday in Busan. (Yonhap)
Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, speaks at the ASEAN-ROK CEO Summit held on Monday in Busan. (Yonhap)

After unification, the restoration of the trans-Korean rail route will turn the Korean Peninsula into a major transport hub through the Belt and Road Initiative and the extension of the Trans-Siberian railway, according to him.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries. The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East.

“With plentiful resources, comparatively low debt levels and a combined population of 650 million people, ASEAN is also set to rise as the world’s new leader. The market will not only become a center for global growth but also lead the way in promoting the world’s prosperity with Northeast Asia,” the investment guru said.

The summit was attended by global leaders including, Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha, who is this year’s chair of ASEAN, Laos Premier Thongloun Sisoulith, Aung San Suu Kui, state counsellor of Myanmar, as well as 225 companies and 500 businessmen from South Korea and ASEAN.

President Moon Jae-in said in his keynote speech that “Korea has engaged in successful cooperation with ASEAN until now and will continue to be a good partner in terms of experience and competitiveness, commitment for partnership and cultural engagement.”

He emphasized the importance of expanding people-to-people ties, promoting co-prosperity and innovative growth and strengthening connectivity to take bilateral economic relations to the next level on the occasion of the ASEAN-ROK Special Summit.

“The annual ASEAN-ROK cooperation fund has doubled to $14 million from this year. The annual Korea-Mekong cooperation fund will expand to $3 million by next year.”

His speech was followed by special speeches by the leaders of ASEAN nations, presentations of invited speakers and panel discussions across three sessions.

Jung Hun-taek, head of mobility at Hyundai Motor Company, introduced the firm’s new business that would advance into the ASEAN market.

“The company is implementing open innovation for organizing an artificial intelligence expert group, conducting research collaborations with universities, and pursuing strategic investment and cooperation in the smart sector at home and abroad,” Jung said.

This year’s CEO Summit holds significance in that the leaders and businessmen of South Korea and ASEAN came together to produce tangible outcomes from the New Southern Policy and the ASEAN-ROK Future Community Initiative by assessing the successful partnership of the past 30 years and are seeking measures to strengthen cooperation for the next 30 years, according to organizers.

As a platform in which the business community gathering to share their experience and vision, the CEO Summit is expected to contribute to identifying successful business models and solidifying the global value chain between Korea and ASEAN, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

As a regional bloc, ASEAN is the fifth-largest economy in the world. South Korea has continued to strengthen economic ties with the region since establishing dialogue in 1989.

ASEAN is South Korea’s second-largest trade partner, and it was the former’s fifth-largest trade partner last year. Also, Southeast Asia is Korea’s third-largest investment destination, as the number of domestic companies advancing into the region has continued to rise. The number of companies setting up a business in the bloc stood at 1,292 last year, up from 850 in 2014, according to the Trade Ministry.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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