| Danial Norjidi |
THE 11th Council Meeting of the ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) and the reception celebrating the centre’s 10th anniversary took place on February 18 at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, Korea.
According to a press release, the council comprised high-ranking officials, ambassadors representing the 10 ASEAN member states and Korea, and is the highest decision-making body that supervises the projects of the AKC.
The meeting evaluated the programmes undertaken by the AKC in 2018. It also approved the proposed plans for 2019 towards celebrating the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-Korea relations and the organisation’s 10th Anniversary.
In addition, a dinner reception brought together approximately 150 guests from the Diplomatic Corps, media, academia and businesses.
AKC Secretary General Lee Hyuk in the welcoming remarks, said that over the last 10 years, the AKC has been working hard to serve as a relevant and meaningful institution in enhancing the relationship between ASEAN and Korea.
“And I, as its new and 4th Secretary General, am proud to tell you that we have been making meaningful achievements,” he said. “I should also emphasise that without the strong and consistent contribution from ASEAN member countries whose representatives are here with us tonight, the AKC could not have grown into such a robust organisation as it is today.
“As epitomised by the AKC’s slogan of ‘Connecting People, Sharing Prosperity’, we have been trying to help make the relationship between ASEAN and Korea a close and mutually beneficial one by planning and implementing wide-ranging projects, programmes and events in the areas of trade and investment, tourism and people to people exchanges and etc.
“With eyes on the coming 10 years, the AKC is committed to evolving into a much more solid, capable, innovative and useful organisation compatible with a fast changing regional landscape. I would like to ask for your whole-hearted support in these endeavours.”
He noted that this year also marks a historic milestone in ASEAN-Korea partnership, as the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-Korea dialogue relationship will be celebrated by holding a commemorative summit meeting in Korea.
“Needless to say, ASEAN and Korea have been making a great stride in so many areas for the last 30 years. In 2018, our trade volume reached USD160 billion, a quantum leap from USD75 billion of 1989,” he said. “ASEAN is Korea’s third largest investment destination now with USD5.3 billion of investment in 2017. ASEAN continues to be the most popular tourism destination among Koreans with 7.64 million Korean visitors in 2018.
“Together with the ‘New Southern Policy’ as the overarching principle in further pushing forward ties between ASEAN and Korea, the meeting of the leaders of Korea and 10 ASEAN nations will usher in a new era of prosperity, cooperation and exchanges in this region,” he added.
The reception also saw Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Hyun and Thai Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Suriya Chindawongse give congratulatory remarks.
The press release noted that, as the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit is expected to be held in Korea this year, the Centre will organise a variety of special programmes throughout the year.
The ‘ASEAN-Korea Media Forum’ will kick off the festivities in April, and will bring together the high-level representatives from the influential news organisations, government, and academia in ASEAN and Korea to share their insights on how ASEAN and Korea can facilitate two-way cultural exchanges.
In June, the AKC will host ‘ASEAN Week’ to introduce diverse aspects of ASEAN featuring cultural performances, tourism pavilion, and lecture series. In October, ‘ASEAN Train’ will invite people from ASEAN member states and Korea to take a nation-wide train tour together for a week. The programme will showcase culture, history and industrial development of major cities in Korea.