Train launch marks 30-year ASEAN-Korea partnership

Syazwani Haji Rosli in South Korea

A total of 200 delegates from 10 ASEAN member states and Korea embarked on a three-day trip to Gyeongju, Busan, Suncheon Gwangju, and Seoul yesterday as part of the 40-day countdown to the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit 2019.

The delegates comprised government officials, academia, artistes, media and youth, whose trip began upon the launching ceremony of the ASEAN-Korea Train at the Seoul Station under the theme ‘Advancing Together’. It was attended by Korean Minister of SMEs and Start-ups Park Young-sun; Union Minister of Myanmar Dr Pe Myint; and around 40 high-level representatives from ASEAN member countries and Korea.

Among those representing Brunei at the launching ceremony was Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Fiscal) Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman and Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to the Republic of Korea Pengiran Hajah Nooriyah binti Pengiran Lela Wijaya Pengiran Haji Yussof. The event, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and organised by the ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC), the ASEAN-Korea Train, is aimed at bringing the people of ASEAN and Korea together to celebrate the past 30 years of remarkable partnership, in addition to sharing wishes for another 30 years of greater prosperity and peace.

Over the course of three days, the participants will take part in economic, cultural and peace celebrations representing the 3Ps (People, Prosperity and Peace of the New Southern Policy) under the overarching theme ‘Advancing Together’.

Artistes and performers from the 11 countries will also share their musical talents through various performances during the six-hour train ride.

The ASEAN-Korea Train is expected to open a new era in raising greater public awareness on the importance of the partnership between ASEAN and Korea and the upcoming Commemorative Summit in Busan.

Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Fiscal) Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman in a group photo with the delegates. PHOTO: SYAZWANI HAJI ROSLI

Later in the evening, the participants attended the ASEAN-Korea Prosperity Night at Paradise Hotel in Busan hosted by Mayor of Busan Oh Keo-Don.

The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Fiscal) in his congratulatory remark highlighted the close relation between ASEAN and Korea which is evident through remarkable achievements including increased economic integration.

“Korea is the second Dialogue Partner with whom ASEAN has forged a free trade agreement. In 2005, ASEAN and Korea signed the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation. Three major agreements were subsequently signed which form the legal instruments for establishing the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Area. The agreements include the ASEAN-Korea Trade in Goods Agreement which entered into force in June 2007, the ASEAN-Korea Trade in Services Agreement (May 2009) and the ASEAN-Korea Investment Agreement (June 2009)”.

“From the economic perspective, we see the total value of ASEAN and Korea two-way trade reach USD160.5 billion in 2018. Meanwhile, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flow from Korea to ASEAN stood at USD6.6 billion in 2018, making Korea one of the largest sources of FDI into ASEAN. This positive trend reflects the importance of our regional and bilateral ties,” said the deputy minister.

“I believe the train journeys to some of Korea’s beautiful sights will provide not only valuable insights on the cultural, educational and economic opportunities.

“Overall, through ASEAN centrality, Brunei Darussalam and Korea have already strengthened their bilateral exchanges in many ways over the years, where Brunei Darussalam’s crude oil and gas have contributed to our striving economic development, and Korean companies have participated in many projects in Brunei Darussalam which include a joint venture project with Korea’s Daelim Industrial Co, most notably two bridge building projects which will enhance connectivity in Brunei.

“It will also boost more FDIs and economic activities opportunities enabling further infrastructure development, agriculture, tourism and culture, education, energy and SMEs into Brunei Darussalam.”