Moon calls for co-prosperity with ASEAN
By Kang-Ji Hyun
President Moon Jae-in has called on the leaders of Southeast Asia and China and Japan to make efforts to form a regional community for peace and co-prosperity.
He made the remarks during the 20th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) +3 summit in Manila, the Philippines, Tuesday.
Leaders of the 10 ASEAN countries as well as Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took part in the meeting.
“Twenty years ago, we gathered together for joint counteractions in a desperate need to overcome the Asian financial crisis,” Moon said. “As a result of the solidarity and cooperation which shone amid the hardship, ASEAN, South Korea, Japan and China have grown to account for 30 percent of the global economy.”
He said overcoming the crisis through joint efforts was a valuable asset, adding that the community needs to take a leap forward to protect and take care of the lives of people in the region. “Together we need to overcome comprehensive challenges ahead of us, such as protectionism, economic polarization, population aging and climate change.”
Moon recollected the achievements the ASEAN+3 group have made over the last 20 years, such as cooperation in finance, closer economic integration, liberalization in trade and enhancement in food security.
He said stronger cooperation would lead to tighter bonds among the 13 countries, helping them form an East Asian community for peace and co-prosperity.
Moon lauded the continuous development of the Chiang Mai Initiative, a multilateral currency swap arrangement among the ASEAN+3 members, and the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office’s attaining U.N. observer status. “As the co-chair of next year’s ASEAN+3 finance ministers and central bank governors’ meeting, South Korea will actively contribute to reinforcing regional capabilities against financial crises,” he said.
The President also vowed to expand exchanges and support for human resources development of the region, adding that people were key to the community.
For food security which affects the people’s quality of lives directly, South Korea donated 750 tons of rice to the ASEAN+3 Emergency Rice Reserve this year and will keep participating in related projects, Moon said.
Regarding North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues, he emphasized the importance of the international community’s stern response including faithful implementation of U.N. Security Council sanctions.
Moon also expressed hopes that February’s PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 would be opportunities to enhance peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia.
The participating leaders adopted the Manila Declaration which called for co-prosperity in the region.
Later in the day, Moon also took part in the East Asia Summit which involved the 13 countries and the United States, Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand.
He called for support from the participating leaders for South Korea’s effort to realize peace on the Korean Peninsula, saying it was important to bring the North to dialogue through diplomatic methods and eventually achieve denuclearization through peaceful means.
The President also participated in a summit of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a mega free trade deal under discussion among the 10 ASEAN members, South Korea, China, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand, with the goal to reach an agreement in 2018.