Vice FM reaffirms commitment to cementing ties with ASEAN, Eurasian countries

SEOUL, Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho on Wednesday reiterated South Korea's policy commitment to deepening ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Eurasian countries for regional peace and prosperity.

During a forum on Seoul's New Southern and Northern Policies involving the countries, Lee highlighted his government's desire to expand cooperation with them in people-to-people exchanges, trade, development and other areas.

"Our government will muster up all of its capabilities to faithfully implement the policies," he told the forum hosted by the state-run Korean National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul.

"(They) are the core policies that reflect our government's will to contribute to prosperity in Asia and in Eurasia based on peace on the Korean Peninsula," he added.

The New Southern Policy seeks to beef up cooperation with the 10-member ASEAN, an increasingly crucial partner due to its economic potential, resources and growing diplomatic influence, while the New Northern Policy aims to strengthen economic cooperation with Russia and other Eurasian countries.

Lee said that South Korea will push to increase the combined number of South Korean travelers to ASEAN countries and visitors from the regional bloc to 15 million by next year from 10 million recorded last year.

It also hopes to bolster trade with ASEAN to US$200 billion by next year from $160 billion last year, Lee added.

In addition, South Korea will seek to bolster trade and other exchanges with Russia, particularly as the two countries prepare to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations next year.

"The policies do not care only about our own national interests. It is a diplomatic strategy for co-prosperity that takes into account the needs from partner countries," he said.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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