Go to contents

[ASEAN-Korea Summit]Lee’s New Asian Initiative Takes Shape

[ASEAN-Korea Summit]Lee’s New Asian Initiative Takes Shape

Posted June. 02, 2009 07:36,   


The ASEAN-Korea Summit, held in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Korea-ASEAN Dialogue Partnership, comes to a close today. At the commemorative summit and at the bilateral summits, President Lee Myung-bak has been engaging in in-depth exchange of views with the leaders of ASEAN, with an emphasis on initiatives to promote further cooperation between Korea and ASEAN.

The summit has been an oppor-tune occasion to flesh out the “New Asia Initiative” President Lee announced during his visit to Indonesia last March, and to bring to light the theme of the commemorative summit, “Part-nership for Real, Friendship for Good.”

Henceforth, the Korean govern-ment will focus on three major areas of cooperation with ASEAN.

First, we plan to enhance coop-eration in the field of development, thereby laying the foundations for our common prosperity. To this end, we plan to triple Korea’s official development assistance by the year 2015. Furthermore, more programs will be implemented to share Korea’s development experience of overcoming poverty and underdevelopment in a relatively short period of time. In order to narrow the developmental gap among ASEAN members and to support their efforts to establish the envisioned “ASEAN Community” by 2015, the Korean government will boost our contributions to the “Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI).”

Second, the Korean govern-ment intends to strengthen our cooperation with ASEAN members with regard to our policy vision of “Low Carbon, Green Growth.” The Korean government has also proposed the “East Asia Climate Partnership Fund” to assist in the capacity building of developing countries. We will pro-vide a total US$100 million from 2009 to 2012 to assist ASEAN countries in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

Third, with a view to enhancing mutual understanding between the peoples of Korea and ASEAN, and to nurturing still closer ties between them, Korea will continue to promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges. This will serve as a solid foundation to sustain the thriving relations in the poli-tical and economic realm as well. The Korean government will double the number of students from ASEAN countries studying in Korea on scholarships by the year 2012, under the “Global Korea Scholarship” program.

The Korean government will spare no efforts in rendering support for the hard-working immigrant workers in Korean industries, as well as for the spouses from ASEAN countries in the so-called “bi-cultural families.” Indeed, they can serve as a “bridge” to further enhance the cooperative relations between Korea and ASEAN.

Since his days as a business-man in the construction industry President Lee Myung-bak has formed special bonds with ASEAN countries. His broad understand-ing of and experience with ASEAN is playing a crucial role in Korea’s diplomatic agenda of placing greater importance on its relations with ASEAN.

The commemorative summit and the series of bilateral talks held on its sidelines will provide an invaluable opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the interests of ASEAN, and consolidate the friendly ties among our leaders.

Building on this, Korea will bolster continuous summit diplomacy vis-`a-vis the ASEAN members, in addition to carrying out diplomatic activities tailor-made to each of the members, seeking to translate President Lee Myung-bak’s vision of our “New Asia Initiative” into concrete outcomes.

Yu Myung-hwan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade