Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc attends the first working session of the 2019 ASEAN-RoK Commemorative Summit in Busan yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất

BUSAN — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc suggested boosting the partnership between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Republic of Korea (RoK) while addressing the first working session of the 2019 ASEAN-RoK Commemorative Summit in Busan yesterday.

While proposing major orientations for ASEAN-RoK co-operation over the next three decades, the Vietnamese leader stressed the need for respect for international law and an open, inclusive, transparent and rules-based regional architecture.

The two sides should step up economic collaboration for equality and mutual benefits, and facilitate the flow of goods and investments in the respective markets, he said.

Phúc called on the RoK to admit labourers from ASEAN members, including Việt Nam, and help them become acquainted with their new homes.

He also asked the RoK to help the ten-member group train high-quality human resources that met the requirements of the digital economy, and establish a maritime research centre in order to enhance co-operation in maritime economic development and sustainable marine environmental preservation.

The PM stressed the significance of maintaining security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea was a shared interest of all countries.

He appealed to the RoK to back the bloc’s stance and principles, while highlighting respect for international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, dialogue enhancement, trust building, the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), thus maintaining the East Sea as waters of peace, stability, co-operation and free trade.

At the working session, the participating leaders shared the view that the ASEAN-RoK partnership had developed remarkably over the past 30 years across all spheres, ranging from politics and security to economy, culture, social affairs and people-to-people exchanges.

ASEAN leaders lauded the RoK’s New Southern Policy and Korean President Moon Jae-in’s efforts to strengthen relations with ASEAN in the three pillars of peace, property and people.

They called on the RoK to further assist the bloc in enhancing connectivity and building the ASEAN Community, back its central role and actively participate in mechanisms led by ASEAN aiming to promote dialogue and build trust.

They also called for the RoK’s co-operation in coping with non-traditional security challenges effectively, thus contributing to maintaining peace, security and stability in the region.

The RoK is ASEAN’s fifth largest trade partner and investor, while the bloc is the RoK’s second biggest trade partner.

Two-way trade reached US$160.5 billion in 2018, up 16 times compared with 1990. The RoK invested $6.6 billion in ASEAN last year.

The two sides agreed to beef up trade and investment ties, optimise economic benefits brought about by the ASEAN-RoK Free Trade Area, and strive to raise bilateral trade to $200 billion in 2020.

They will also join hands to promote economic liberalisation and connectivity and make efforts to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement in 2020.

Apart from cultural and people-to-people exchanges as well as tourism links, the two sides will forge partnerships in innovation, smart city building, combating natural disasters, climate change response and sustainable forest development.

President Moon announced co-operation initiatives with ASEAN such as improving the visa system for ASEAN citizens in the RoK, doubling scholarships for ASEAN students, establishing an ASEAN-RoK start-up partnership, supporting start-ups in new technologies, building the ASEAN-RoK industrial innovation centre, and further supporting ASEAN in digital technological development. — VNS


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