Korea-ASEAN economic cooperation
Economic cooperation, financial security and climate changes were elements inside the ASEAN-ROK Summit that was celebrated in Jeju Island, South Korea on 1 and 2 of June. ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations, accepted the proposal of Korean president Lee Myung-bak known as “New Asia Initiative.”
The summit was also concerned about the issue of nuclear test in the Korean peninsula under the responsibility of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), events that have gotten a generalized international condemnation.
But the most important and historical part of the summit was the signature of the Free Trade Agreement that will unite the South East Asian markets to the northern Asian country, considered the “Miracle on the Han River” and one of the “Four Asian Tigers“.
The statement of Jeju Island, dated 2 June ’09, is composed by 40 clauses in five sections and signed by leaders of 11 nations. The agreement is the end of a long process of 20 years of relations between ASEAN and Korea for cooperation in political and security, economics and social and cultural issues that should be fully realized by 2015.
The commitment of working for peace in the region stressed the issue of the North Korean nuclear test in the peninsula. ASEAN-Korea are committed to reach solutions through peaceful negotiations.
The Thai Primer Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, and the Korean President Lee Myuang-bak, represented the two official parts in the sign of the expected agreement. Thailand is currently the chair country of the Association of South East Asian Nations.
Transport and others
A free trade market of the size of ASEAN-Korea means also many other compromises in its implementation. A challenges for the 11 nations that include Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
The improvement of infrastructures to guarantee the transport of logistic in the transport memorandum, has been scheduled to be signed at the end of 2009.
Another memorandum of understanding for aviation between ASEAN and Korea should be discussed by early 2010. By other hand, cooperation should contemplate issues like South East Asian workers in Korea, education agreements, health and others.
Global warming and financial crisis
The climate change was also a worry of the summit that studied possibilities and proposals to answer to a problem that affects the entire planet, as it is also the financial crisis.
The ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) will be created by the ASEAN-Korea block as a way to prevent food scarcity in a chapter called “food security.”
As for climate changes, the members agreed in the development of green industry to respond to climate changes, while Korean president Lee announced to contribute to the program with 200 million US Dollars and the creation of the “Asia Forest Cooperation Organization”.