Korea, ASEAN to Promote Cross-Cultural Understanding
The following is the gist of a joint statement adopted at the end of the two-day ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit under the theme of “Partnership for Real, Friendship for Good,” which ended on Jeju Island Tuesday. -- ED.
We noted with satisfaction that ASEAN and the ROK (Republic of Korea) have developed mutually beneficial cooperative relations on the basis of mutual trust and respect for the past 20 years. In this vein, ASEAN appreciated Korea's efforts to strengthen its relations with ASEAN member states by implementing its ``New Asia Initiative."
We noted that the total trade volume between ASEAN and Korea had substantially doubled in the last five years from $46.4 billion in 2004 to $90.2 billion in 2008. We further noted with satisfaction that there has been a steady increase in mutual investment between ASEAN and Korea amounting to $6.8 billion in 2008, which is more than five times the amount of $1.3 billion in 2004.
We welcomed the entry into force of the Agreement on Trade in Services on May 1, 2009, and the signing of the Investment Agreement by our economic ministers June 2, 2009, which marks the completion of the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
We welcomed the official launch of the ASEAN-Korea Centre March 13, 2009. Furthermore, we agreed to continue cooperation to help the center serve as an effective channel for the enhancement of trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between ASEAN and Korea.
Korea congratulated ASEAN for the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter in December 2008, which marked a new milestone in the integration of ASEAN.
We recognized that enhanced peace and security on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and cooperation is essential for the peace, security and stability of the region. To this end, we are committed to continue our efforts to reduce tension and promote dialogue on the peninsula, including those to achieve an early resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue in a peaceful manner through the six-party talks process.
Based on the positive effects of the ASEAN-Korea FTA, we agreed to closely cooperate and monitor the FTA implementation process by strengthening the ASEAN-Korea Economic Cooperation projects.
We were pleased with the successful outcome of the ASEAN-Korea CEO Summit on Jeju Island May 31 to June 1, 2009, in forging business partnerships. We encouraged the business communities of ASEAN and Korea. We recognized the importance of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as a main contributor to the national economy, and in this regard, we would do our utmost to enable the SMEs to gain access to the international market and enjoy the benefits of the FTA.
We recognized the need to establish a cooperative system between ASEAN and Korea that covers all modes of transportation, including logistics. To this end, we looked forward to the expeditious conclusion of the ASEAN-Korea memorandum of understanding (MOU) on transport cooperation by the end of 2009.
To further boost trade, investment and tourism, we agreed to endeavor to begin discussions on an Air Services Agreement between ASEAN and Korea covering both passengers and air freight by early 2010.
Korea reaffirmed its commitment to continue expanding the Official Development Assistance (ODA) for sustainable economic and social development and poverty alleviation in the ASEAN member states.
Korea announced its plans to invite 7,000 trainees from ASEAN member states over the next seven years.
Noting the positive outcome of cooperation on information and communication technology (ICT), we agreed to further strengthen our consultations and advance joint programs and initiatives in building the ICT knowledge partnership between ASEAN and Korea. Korea expressed commitment to continue its support to ASEAN, among others, in ICT human resources development, the ICT development model, information security, digital convergence and collaboration to address new challenges brought about by technological changes.
To ensure equitable benefits from globalization, we underscored the need to narrow the digital divide by providing ICT facilities and electronic infrastructure access to the less developed countries of ASEAN. In this regard, we appreciated the continued assistance by Korea to support the necessary hardware, software and electronic infrastructure development.
ASEAN appreciated the role of Korea's Employment Permit System in improving cooperation between ASEAN and Korea in the sectors of labor and employment. Korea agreed to further strengthen its cooperation with labor-exporting countries and to increase its support for the workers from the ASEAN member states who are in Korea.
We recognized that human capital development is essential in narrowing the development gap. In this regard, we agreed to promote greater exchanges of students and teachers to facilitate the sharing of experiences for further cross-cultural understanding between ASEAN and Korea. We encouraged Korea to increase the number of scholarships to ASEAN and Korean students to pursue tertiary education, and to promote ASEAN studies in Korea and Korean studies in ASEAN.
We reaffirmed our determination to join efforts in dealing with the global challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, the current global economic and financial crisis, food security, energy security and communicable and emerging infectious diseases.
In response to the global economic and financial crisis, we reaffirmed our commitment to do our utmost to stimulate economic growth in the region and stand firm against protectionism. We agreed to undertake proactive and decisive policy actions to restore market confidence and ensure continued financial stability to promote sustainable regional economic growth.
We stressed the importance of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), which would contribute to regional financial stability and safeguard the region from the global financial crisis. We called for immediate and effective action to expedite the implementation of the CMIM.
We supported the strengthening of the Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI) in line with the new ABMI Roadmap to lay a foundation for the expansion of regional bond markets through mobilization of savings for productive investments, particularly infrastructure development, to spur regional growth.
We attached great importance to regional energy cooperation in light of the volatile energy prices, climate change and the need for environmental protection. To this end, we agreed to expand our cooperation in the energy sector by improving energy efficiency, developing the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and diversifying energy sources by increasing civilian nuclear energy and developing renewable energy technologies such as hydropower, solar energy and bio-energy.
We recognized that the recent food and energy crises are not confined to any specific country, and that global cooperation is essential in dealing with the crises. We agreed to endeavor to establish the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve to ensure food security in the region.
We noted Korea's initiative on ``Low-Carbon Green Growth" for sustainable development. We agreed to promote close cooperation by introducing environment-friendly technology and undertaking cooperative projects and studies to deal with climate change.
We agreed to endeavor to strengthen our cooperation in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), especially on the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) initiative, enhancement of sustainable forest management, wasteland restoration and promotion of industrial forestation.
We agreed to support the complementary and mutually beneficial role of regional architecture such as the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation, East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which will continue to support ASEAN integration in order to realize the ASEAN Community by 2015 and at the same time contribute to the building of an East Asian community as a long-term goal.
In concert with the theme ``Partnership for Real, Friendship for Good," we agreed to strengthen and broaden the network beyond government institutions to the parliamentarians, business circles and other stakeholders. Special emphasis would be given to the younger generation who will carry the torch for the building of a peaceful, harmonious, caring and sharing community in our region.
We tasked our relevant ministers and officials to implement the measures that are contained in this joint statement, where necessary, after the completion of the required domestic legal procedures, and to report regularly on the progress of the implementation at the ASEAN-Korea summits.