Foreign Affairs

R. Korea’s President’s Message upon Concluding ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit and Mekong-ROK Summit

(KPL) We cannot expand our national territory, but we can broaden the scope of our lives and ideas as much as possible.

If we respect, connect and cooperate with each other, there will be no limit to economic and cultural boundaries. I hope that the two summits held this time will help our people feel closer to ASEAN over the horizon and recognize the region as a space for living.

ASEAN countries are young, dynamic, and they have great growth potential. Nonetheless, they want to achieve growth step by step in a manner of their choosing while protecting their unique cultures. That is why our experience of having accomplished economic growth and democracy while maintaining our identity even when surrounded by major powers appeals to ASEAN. Economic cooperation with ASEAN will bring great benefits even to one another’s future generations.

ASEAN countries value harmony, and they are inclusive. In the face of ever-increasing issues such as polarization, climate change and international conflicts that require joint actions to resolve, ASEAN looks for solutions through dialogue from early on. What makes this possible is the underlying Asian spirit, which regards mutual benefit as a virtue. In the 21st century, Asian wisdom will be able to bring hope to humanity.

Busan is where the continent and ocean meet. Our long-lasting dream is to emerge as a bridging state between the continent and ocean, absorbing and connecting the strengths of both sides. While building friendships with the 10 ASEAN countries, we have opened up more sea routes. Now, what remains is to cross the continent by land from Busan. Even if there are difficult junctures and all sorts of impasses ahead of us, we cannot give up the dream of becoming a bridging nation. We can become a country that is not struggling while stuck between major powers but that links them together and creates peace and prosperity. Busan is the starting point. I want to realise this dream together with the people.

Now, I am seeing off precious guests. The last four days have been a time to confirm that ASEAN’s dream is Korea’s dream. The consideration and commitment demonstrated by the ASEAN leaders at this summit will transform the world into a warmer, more dynamic and more peaceful place, going beyond Asia. I extend my gratitude to you for being here together. I hope that you will return home with pleasant memories.

Source: Lao News Agency