Posted at The Korea Times on 02-12-2012 15:30
Southeast Asian envoys and Korean government officials met in a reception to commemorate the 3rd Anniversary and the 4th Annual Council Meeting of the ASEAN-Korea Centre in Seoul, Thursday.
The relationship between Korea and the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has become vital since the end of the Cold War. Since 1990, ASEAN-Korea trade saw a 12-fold rise. Southeast Asia is Korea’s second largest trading partner with some $125 billion in two-way trade. China is Korea’s largest trading partner.
Council directors from the ten member states of the association and Korea met on Friday to adopt the center’s program and budget for the coming fiscal year.
2nd Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Min Dong-seok delivered welcoming remarks and Cambodian Ambassador to Korea Ky Sim Chan delivered a keynote speech during the reception. Cambodia assumed chairmanship of the association from Indonesia in a symbolic transfer of leadership at the closing ceremony of the 19th ASEAN Summit in Bali on in November 2011.
The center was established in 2009 on the 20th anniversary since Korea and the association began meeting to forge closer ties. The center’s mandate is to enhance trade, investment, tourism and otherwise closer relations and understanding.
ASEAN-Korea relations were lifted to a “strategic partnership” and the Korean government recently intiated a “New Asia Diplomatic Initiative.”