ASEAN-ROK COOPERATION TOWARDS THE 21ST CENTURY

1. The Heads of State/Government of the member states of ASEAN and the Prime Minister Republic of Korea noted with satisfaction that ASEAN-ROK relations had broadened and strengthened rapidly, since the establishment of the Dialogue Partnership between ASEAN and the ROK in 1991. Recognising that the two sides share many common fundamental interests, they agreed that there was great potential for further cooperation. They were convinced that the flourishing ASEAN- ROK relations would promote peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia- Pacific region. They committed themselves to exert every effort to bring the ASEAN-ROK partnership to a new level to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

2. They agreed to continue their close consultations to promote common interest at various international and regional fora, including the United Nations, WTO, APEC, ARF and ASEM.

3. They shared the view that the overall favourable political and security environment in the Asia-Pacific region provided a solid foundation for economic development. They also agreed that the stability and prosperity of Northeast and Southeast Asia were inter-linked and it was essential for both sides to work closely together for the mutual benefit of both regions.

4. The ROK reaffirmed that it would respect and support the efforts of ASEAN to establish a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality in Southeast Asia. The ROK welcomed the entry into force of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Treaty which represented an important effort of ASEAN towards strengthening security in the region and establishing nuclear-weapon-free zones globally and in this connection, the ROK welcomed the ongoing consultations between the State Parties to the Treaty and the Nuclear Weapon States to facilitate accession by the latter to the Protocol of the SEANWFZ Treaty.

5. Bearing in mind the importance of peace and security in the Korean Peninsula, ASEAN reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the 1953 Armistice Agreement until a permanent peace regime is in place and hoped for an early resumption of direct dialogue between the two Koreas. They welcomed the convening of the first plenary Four Party Talks in Geneva on 9 December 1997 and hoped that the Talks would lead to reduction of tensions and establishment of a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.

6. The ROK expressed its full confidence that the ASEAN region had strong economic fundamentals and would remain one of the most dynamic regions in the world. The ROK reiterated its view that the ASEAN economies continued to enjoy production and export competitiveness and abundant investment opportunities and that they practised consistent market-oriented and outward-looking policies.

7. ASEAN and the ROK noted that their Finance Ministers at the recent meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 2 December 1997 discussed national efforts and regional and international cooperation to address the present financial situation in the region. They welcomed the Finance Ministers’ decision to support the ROK’s efforts to put in place a programme of economic policies and structural reforms to restore financial stability. They endorsed the Finance Ministers’ agreement on the rapid implementation of the Manila Framework as a constructive step towards promoting financial stability in the region. They encouraged efforts to carry forward the initiatives under the Manila Framework and work closely with the IMF, World Bank, ADB and international regulatory bodies. They reaffirmed the importance of enhanced cooperation on economic and financial issues between the Finance Ministers of ASEAN and the ROK.

8. They noted with satisfaction the expanding economic relations between ASEAN and the ROK in the fields of trade, investment and economic cooperation. They shared the view that economic cooperation between the two sides would promote dynamism and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. They agreed to consolidate, broaden and strengthen the economic relations between ASEAN and the ROK.

9. ASEAN and the ROK noted that the steady and full implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area and ASEAN Industrial Cooperation (AICO) Scheme would strengthen economic linkages among ASEAN economies and promote their competitiveness and attractiveness as an investment and production base.

10. They agreed that special emphasis should be focussed on the following:

  • Promotion and facilitation of trade and investment;
  • Promotion of investment related human resources and technological development
  • Increased efforts on both sides to achieve balanced trade expansion and improved market access between ASEAN and the ROK through close consultation and cooperation;
  • Continuation and increase of ROK’s official development assistance to ASEAN in various forms, and sharing of its development experience and technology;
  • Active participation of the ROK private sector and support for the economic development of less developed and disadvantaged sub-region areas, particularly the ASEAN-Mekong Basin, and for regional cooperation projects;
  • Enhanced cooperation in the development of energy and natural resources; and
  • Development of ASEAN’s infrastructure as well as supporting industries and small and medium enterprises.

11. They expressed their satisfaction that the 45 cooperation projects Implemented under the Korea-ASEAN Special Cooperation Fund had further enhanced their relations. At the same time, they recognised the need to improve the efficiency of the existing mechanism for the selection and implementation of these projects. ASEAN welcomed the ROK’s intention to further promote such cooperation projects and implement additional projects in ASEAN. The ROK undertook to extend the existing cooperation projects to accommodate participation by ASEAN’s new members.

12. The ROK informed ASEAN that it would undertake new cooperation projects for ASEAN countries, especially in the fields of education the environment and science and technology, with a focus on human resources development in these fields.

13. ASEAN and the ROK agreed to further promote academic and cultural exchanges and cooperation to enhance mutual understanding between their peoples. The ROK expressed its intention to expand its related programmes and activities for ASEAN countries such as contributions to the Korean studies programmes of major universities in the region. The ROK also announced its plan to launch the Future-Oriented Projects in 1998, which are aimed at promoting people-to-people contacts through projects like the ROK-ASEAN Youth Exchange Programme, the ROK- ASEAN Media People Exchange Programme and the ROK-ASEAN Cultural Exchange Programme.

14. ASEAN and the ROK expressed their willingness to support the activities of the ROK-ASEAN Forum for the 21th Century, which was inaugurated in May 1997 to create a long term plan for development of the ASEAN-ROK relations and they agreed to consider the recommendations of the Forum.

15. In consideration of the increasing importance of the ASEAN-ROK relations, they agreed to widen the scope of discussion for the ASEAN- ROK Dialogue to include environment and culture, in addition to the current areas of trade, investment, tourism, science and technology and human resources development.

16. In order to support various activities and cooperation projects implemented under the ASEAN-ROK Dialogue Framework, the ROK expressed its intention to continue its contributions to the ROK-ASEAN Special Cooperation Fund and to establish a new separate fund for implementation of the Future-Oriented Projects.

17. The ROK welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN Vision 2020, reflecting ASEAN’s dynamism and determination to meet the challenges of the coming century.