(Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Yonhap)
Senior diplomats from South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held their annual talks via video links on Wednesday to discuss bilateral ties and joint efforts to contain the new coronavirus, the foreign ministry said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gunn and Brunei's Permanent Secretary Emaleen Abdul Rahman Teo led the talks on joint efforts to address shared transnational challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and terrorism.
Participants also shared the understanding that South Korea and the regional bloc should work together to play a "constructive role" against the backdrop of "competition among major countries," the ministry said, apparently referring to the intensifying Sino-US rivalry.
Deputy Minister Kim used the session to highlight the importance of regional efforts to allow essential overseas business trips despite the pandemic and to spur economic recovery in the aftermath of the global health crisis.
Kim also explained Seoul's efforts to resume dialogue with Pyongyang, while ASEAN participants supported such efforts and stressed the importance of addressing the North Korean nuclear issue through dialogue, the ministry said.
South Korea has utilized the dialogue platform to promote its New Southern Policy aimed at strengthening relations with the 10-member ASEAN, a strategically crucial partner for its growth potential, abundant resources and geopolitical significance. (Yonhap)