On Thursday 9 April, the newly appointed Secretary-General of the ASEAN-Korea Centre, His Excellency Kim Young-sun, visited the ASEAN Studies Center (ASC) at ISEAS in Singapore. Mr. Kim Ki-hong, Head of Development Planning and General Affairs Unit; Mr. Mohd Daud Mohd Aruf, Head of Culture and Tourism Unit; as well as Ms Jennifer Kim, Officer, Development Planning & General Affairs Unit, accompanied him. H.E. Kim Young-sun had a candid and friendly exchange of views with ASC Head Mr Rodolfo Severino, ASC Lead Researchers Ms Moe Thuzar (Socio-Cultural Affairs) and Ms Sanchita Basu Das (Economic Affairs); and Dr Tang Siew Mun, ISEAS Senior Fellow.
Both Mr Severino and Ambassador Kim were in agreement that ASEAN and the Republic of Korea (ROK) shared similar objectives of maintaining peace, stability and prosperity in the region, and that ASEAN and the ROK can mutually learn from and share each other’s experiences. For example, the ROK’s transition and growth into a developed economy is a source of inspiration to several ASEAN countries. Dedicated efforts for economic growth are possible with the assurance of peace and stability. In this connection, ASEAN’s integration efforts emphasise priorities in the three spheres of regional cooperation economics, politics and security, and socio-cultural, even as ASEAN economies continue to pursue growth and development as an economic community. Continuity of commitments to ASEAN is important, as the changing geo-political environments in some ASEAN member states lead to shorter terms in office for political leaders. The ASEAN-ROK dialogue thus serves as a constructive framework for the ROK to continue contributing to ASEAN integration. This can be complemented by the ROK’s bilateral programmes with several ASEAN members, in order to boost capacities for regional integration, and to identify “industry champions” to lead growth and change in the business sector.