- Speeches & Published Materials
[Incumbent] Remarks by H.E. Kang Kyung-wha Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea at the Closing Ceremony of the ASEAN-Korea Train October 18, 2019, Seoul
Remarks by H.E. Kang Kyung-wha
H.E. Dr. Pe Myint(페 민), Minister for Information of Myanmar,
I am truly delighted to meet all of you this evening. I am joining you obviously for the very end of your experience together on this wonderful train journey. But I can already see that this has been quite an experience. And I am truly envious that I was not able to join you for any part of that train ride. In the last three days, 200 people from ASEAN and Korea have enjoyed on-board performances and city-specific events through a journey around the major cities of Korea including Seoul, Gyeongju, Busan, Suncheon and Gwangju. It must have been a wonderful opportunity to experience the different aspects of Korean culture and to broaden and deepen the special bonds of friendship between those who are lucky enough to have been in part of this train ride, so perhaps for myself next time.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-ROK Dialogue Relations established in 1989. Over the past 3 decades, there have been remarkable advances in ASEAN-ROK relations in many ways. And now is the time to take stock and to redouble our efforts for the future, to surge ahead with forward-looking and innovative ways to deepen the cooperation between ASEAN and Korea. And this is the task for all of us for the next 30 years towards even more profound partnership and friendship.
I am sure you are well aware of my government’s deep commitment in further nourishing its ties with ASEAN. And indeed, since 2017, we have been actively implementing our New Southern Policy with the vision of elevating our partnership with ASEAN to new levels – a partnership that is firmly rooted in the three pillars of People, Prosperity, and Peace. In the past two years, we have made tangible advances. The number of visitors travelling between our countries reached a record figure in 2018, surpassing 11 million for the first time. Furthermore, ASEAN is Korea’s second-largest trading partner in the world, with our two-way trade volume having reached a record high of 160 billion US dollars last year.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I truly believe that the dramatic increase in the people-to-people exchanges is one of the key factors spurring the rapid advances in the ASEAN-Korea partnership. And we want to do more. Therefore, Korea is planning to more than double the number of scholarships granted to ASEAN students from the current 280 to 700 by 2022. We also aim to expand capacity-building programs for the future generation with Korea’s abundant experiences in human resources development. This resonates with ASEAN’s goal of building a “People-oriented and People-centered community.”
Indeed, as of September this year, President Moon Jae-in completed official visits to all 10 ASEAN Member States. And we made sure that all 10 visits by the President have been shaped by our desires to enhance the people dimension of our ties.
And to celebrate our thirty years of friendship, the 2019 ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit will be held in Busan from November 25th to 26th. In addition, we will host the inaugural Mekong-ROK Summit on November 27th to bolster our future-oriented cooperation with the Mekong countries and you, part of exciting leaders to the summit events.
The ASEAN-Korea Train for three days under the theme of "Advancing Together", this was truly a fitting way to bring our peoples together. Just as a train takes people from one place to another, so too will our bonds of friendship connect regions and people, will take us to new places of greater prosperity and greater stability to ASEAN and Republic of Korea.
At this closing event today, we will also hold a ceremony to express our shared aspiration for peace. Peace is infectious. So, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula that my government is working very hard to achieve will bolster the foundation for prosperity for all in the region. In this spirit, I would like to invite all of you to join us in our closing ceremony today wishing for enduring peace on the Korean Peninsula and indeed all of Southeast Asia.
The Republic of Korea is dreaming of an exciting future together with ASEAN. The journey we are on will continue. The bonds of friendship that you have shown on board the train will be our impetus as we move together forward on this path. We will all work together so that the dream we embrace today will become the reality of tomorrow. I look forward to meeting with you again in November in Busan.
Thank you very much.