PETALING JAYA: The 2019 Asean-Republic of Korea (Asean-ROK) Commemorative Summit will serve as a venue for both sides to put their heads together to seek ways for a more prosperous and peaceful future under the banner of "Partnership for Peace, Prosperity for People", says President Moon Jae-in (pic).
"Since my hometown Busan will play host to the events, I am very much looking forward to them – as if I have invited valued guests to my home.
"I send early greetings in a warm welcome to the heads of state and governments, as well as to the Secretary-General of Asean.
"South Korea was Asean's first dialogue partner to establish an Asean Culture House.
"Koreans love Asean so much that the National Asean Recreation Forest was created complete with cabins modelled after the various traditional housing styles of the 10 Asean member states.
"After I took office, I sent a special envoy to Asean out of profound interest in and affection for the region. I have also visited all 10 Asean member states within a little over two years of my inauguration, becoming the first Korean president to do so.
"Asean's dynamism and the smiles of its people are still fresh in my memory.
"The people of Asean live in harmony with a diversity of ethnicities, religions and cultures knitted into their everyday lives. The Korean people feel very close to Asean because Asean and South Korea bear a resemblance to each other in prizing decorum and community.
"We share the values of Asia," said Moon.
In 2018, the number of visitors traveling between South Korea and Asean surpassed 11 million, and bilateral trade reached the all-time high of US$160bil, he noted.
"The world now faces new challenges such as protectionism and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Non-conventional security threats, including natural disasters, transnational crimes and cybercrime, rise with each passing day.
"Building on 30 years of cooperation, we need to jointly respond to these challenges and put forth a new future vision," said Moon.
He said Asean was the world's youngest and most dynamic economic community.
"To transform its infinite potential into sustainable prosperity, it is crucial to increase connectivity in the region and cooperate in high-tech industries.
"If we enhance cooperation in transport infrastructure, smart cities and advanced science and technology – Korea's strengths – we could jointly nurture innovative capabilities to respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
"Using free trade to expand commerce, fostering small and medium-sized enterprises for an inclusive economy, and promoting green growth, such as an eco-friendly bio-industry – these are also areas where South Korea and Asean can work together," said Moon.
He also stated the importance of the inaugural Mekong-ROK Summit.
"The Mekong countries are achieving high annual growth of more than 6% while pursuing sustainable development, through which people can live in harmony with nature.
"In the belief that the Mekong countries' development will translate into Korea's as well, I have unveiled the South Korea-Mekong Vision.
"South Korea will help promote connectivity among Mekong countries by supporting infrastructure construction, including roads, bridges, railroads and ports, and will join forces to promote regional progress.
"The principles of cooperation proposed by Asean, including Asean centrality, openness, transparency, inclusivity and respect for international law, are in line with South Korea's New Southern Policy," said Moon ahead of the Asean-ROK summit on Nov 25-27.