1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA) and the Korea International Trade Association, co-hosted the 1st Republic of Korea-Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Partnership Seminar at the Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul on October 29, 2020.
2. The Seminar, held on the theme of “Navigating the Path to Peace and Prosperity for the People in the Indian Ocean amid Pandemic” amid the unprecedented global spread of an infectious disease, consisted of the screening of pre-recorded video presentations by officials of IORA Member States and Secretariat as well as an in-person discussion among people from the government, academia, and business circles of the ROK, and those from diplomatic missions of IORA’s Member States in the ROK.
3. The Seminar consisted of three sessions, during which the participants explored a linkage between the ROK’s New Southern Policy and the Indian Ocean Rim cooperation and had a heated discussion on sustainable development of the Indian Ocean through invigorating the blue economy as well as cooperation on digital economy which is drawing attention amid COVID-19.
° In Session I on “Linkage of the Regional Vision – New Southern Policy and IORA,” the participants discussed upgrading the New Southern Policy through expanded substantive cooperation between the ROK and members of the Indian Ocean community and expected challenges in the course of linking the ROK’s New Southern Policy and the Indian Ocean Rim cooperation amid the COVID-19 situation.
° In Session II on “IORA and Non-Traditional Security: Blue Economy,” the participants introduced their respective countries’ policies for sustainability of the extensive Indian Ocean, which stretches from South Asia to the Middle East and Africa, and suggested various substantive cooperation projects through which the ROK could contribute to the region.
° In Session III on “Trade and Investment: Post-COVID-19, Accelerated Digital Transformation with IORA,” the participants reviewed the impact of digital transformation, which has emerged as a key issue since the spread of the infectious disease, on investment and trade in the Indian Ocean region, and discussed survival strategies of governments and businesses and ways for cooperation in this changed environment.
4. The Seminar, held amid the growing geopolitical significance of the Indian Ocean region, is seen to have served as an opportunity to demonstrate the ROK government’s commitment to seek sustainable growth and mutual development of both the ROK and the Indian Ocean community.
° The Seminar, broadcast in real time through the KNDA’s official social network channels as well as recorded, is expected to enhance interest and understanding of Koreans and overseas viewers toward the direction of cooperation between the ROK and the Indian Ocean community.