- Press Releases
Senior Officials’ Meetings of APT, EAS and ARF Take Place
1. Senior Officials’ Meetings (SOMs) of the ASEAN Plus Three (APT), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) took place on July 20-21 in a video format to discuss ways to respond to and work together on economic and social impact of COVID-19; regional and global affairs, including the situations on the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea; and the progress in the preparation for a Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and a Summit of each of those meeting platforms. Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Kim Gunn attended the SOMs as head delegate of the government of the Republic of Korea.
° The SOMs of the APT, the EAS and the ARF will be followed by Foreign Ministers’ Meetings and Summits in the second half of the year -- September and November, respectively.
2. At the APT SOM, the participants reviewed the progress in the implementation of the recommendations issued by East Asia Vision Group II (EAVG II), which has been led by the ROK government to promote cooperation in the region, and discussed progress in COVID-19 responses by the APT member states as well as ways to achieve economic recovery.
° In particular, the APT member states, including the ROK, drew a common understanding that, in order to promptly achieve the post-COVID-19 economic recovery, the countries need to restore global supply chains by facilitating travel of essential workforce, including business people, and signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) within the year.
° Deputy Minister Kim mentioned that the ROK will contribute 1 million U.S. dollars to the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund. In response, the ASEAN member states, including the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the ASEAN Chair for 2020, extended appreciation and underscored the need for cooperation among the APT countries in the area of public health, including infectious diseases.
3. On July 20, the SOM of the EAS, the premier strategic forum participated by all the major countries in the region, covered in depth key regional and global affairs -- mainly the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and the South China Sea issue.
° Deputy Minister Kim mentioned that, as the need for effective joint responses among countries has grown since the outbreak of COVID-19, it would be necessary to map out the establishment of norms in the region for bolstering and institutionalizing cooperation against infectious diseases, including information sharing and ensuring travel of essential workforce.
° With regard to issues on the Korean Peninsula, Deputy Minister Kim voiced hope for progress in the Korean Peninsula peace process, asking the EAS to strongly support efforts for substantive progress toward complete denuclearization and the establishment of permanent peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and negotiations as well as to send a concerted message to make progress on denuclearization.
° In terms of the South China Sea issue, Deputy Minister Kim mentioned that peace and stability should be ensured in the South China Sea, a vital international sea lane, voicing hope that the dispute in the region would be resolved peacefully in accordance with the internationally established norms of conduct. A number of the participating countries stressed that peace and stability as well as the freedom of navigation and overflight should be safeguarded in and above the body of water and expressed hope that tensions would not escalate further in the South China Sea.
4. At the SOM of the ARF, the only multilateral consultative mechanism on security which North Korea takes part in, the participants actively exchanged views on traditional security issues, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea, as well as such non-traditional ones as COVID-19 responses and cybersecurity.
° Deputy Minister Kim mentioned that, amid the dramatic increase in online activities since the outbreak of COVID-19, it has become more important to build a safe and transparent cyberspace, and suggested that the countries work together to do so.
° Deputy Minister Kim, stressing that now is the critical juncture for moving the Korean Peninsula peace process forward, asked for the ARF’s support for complete denuclearization as well as peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. He went on to highlight the importance of resuming dialogue in order to implement what had been agreed upon among the leaders of the ROK, the United States and the DRPK. The participating countries reaffirmed their support for the resumption of dialogue for reduced tensions, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
° With respect to the South China Sea, the ROK side stressed the need to maintain peace and stability and the importance of non-militarization commitments of the region. The ROK side also expressed hope that the currently ongoing consultations between ASEAN member states and the People’s Republic of China on a Code of Conduct (COC) would be concluded that is in line with international norms and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
cooperative relations between the ROK and ASEAN have been strengthening in
various areas, including not only political affairs and economy but also
health, social affairs and culture, through the implementation of the New
Southern Policy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue efforts in 2020 to
seek substantial achievements at the Foreign Ministers’ Meetings and the Summits
of the APT, the EAS and the ARF -- platforms where ASEAN, the ROK’s main partner
for cooperation, plays a pivotal role.