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S. Korea pledges to expand partnership with ASEAN, bolster cooperation with Japan, ChinaBy Yonhap
Published : July 13, 2023 - 21:41
South Korea seeks to strengthen its partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) under the goal of elevating their ties into a comprehensive strategic partnership next year, Seoul's top diplomat said Thursday.
In a meeting with the foreign ministers of ASEAN in Jakarta, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin said Seoul plans to "deepen and expand our partnership with ASEAN" through KASI, or the Korea-ASEAN Solidarity Initiative.
KASI is a diplomatic initiative by the South Korean government tailored toward the ASEAN region, which calls for the enhancement of strategic communication and cooperation for regional peace and stability.
The initiative, of which the full text was finalized three months ago, is a key component of South Korea's Indo-Pacific strategy announced in November of last year.
"Part of these efforts will culminate in establishing the ASEAN-ROK comprehensive strategic partnership next year at the 35th anniversary of dialogue relations," Park said during his opening remarks at the talks. ROK refers to South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.
During the separate ASEAN plus three talks, which also included China and Japan, Park stressed the importance of revitalizing cooperation between Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing.
"In this connection, the ROK will play a more active role to move trilateral cooperation forward," Park said during the session, which was also attended by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Wang Yi, head of the foreign affairs commission of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee.
Wang, who previously served as the Chinese foreign minister, is representing China at this year's ASEAN meetings. Beijing's foreign ministry announced earlier that Qin Gang, the current foreign minister, would not attend the meetings due to health reasons.
"I hope to communicate closely with my two colleagues from Japan and China in this regard, including for the resumption of trilateral summits," Park added.
Three-way summits among the regional neighbors, first held in December 2008, were suspended after the eighth gathering held in December 2019 following a dispute between South Korea and Japan over forced labor compensation rulings and the pandemic. (Yonhap).
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