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ASEAN-Korea Relations

  • 1989

    Sectoral Dialogue Partner
  • 1991

    Full Dialogue Partner
  • 1997

    First ASEAN Plus Three Summit (at the 2nd ASEAN Informal Summit)
  • 2004

    Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership (at the 8th ASEAN-ROK Summit)
  • 2005

    ASEAN-ROK Plan of Action (at the 9th ASEAN-ROK Summit)
  • 2007

    Signing of the MOU on the establishment of the ASEAN-Korea Centre (11th ASEAN-ROK Summit)
  • 2007

    Entry into force of the ASEAN-Korea FTA on Trade in Goods
  • 2009

    Inauguration of the ASEAN-Korea Centre in Seoul and the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit
  • 2009

    Entry into force of the ASEAN-Korea FTA on Services and on Investment
  • 2010

    Adoption of the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-ROK Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity and its Action Plan, which covers the period of 2011-2015 (13th ASEAN-ROK Summit)
  • 2011

    The 1st Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting and adoption of the Han-River Declaration
  • 2012

    Establishment of the ROK Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta
  • 2014

    ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in Busan
  • 2015

    Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-ROK Strategic Partnership 17th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Malaysia
  • 2016

    18th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Vientiane
  • 2017

    Inauguration of the ASEAN Culture House in Busan 19th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Manila
  • 2018

    20th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Singapore

ASEAN and the Republic of Korea first established sectoral dialogue relations in November 1989. The ROK was accorded full Dialogue Partner status by ASEAN at the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in July 1991 in Kuala Lumpur. The year 2004 marked the 15th anniversary of ROK-ASEAN dialogue relations. To commemorate the event and to chart the future of relations in the 21st century, the ROK and ASEAN concluded a Joint Declaration at the ROK-ASEAN Summit on November 30, 2004, in Vientiane. The Joint Declaration provided a blueprint to advance ROK-ASEAN relations in a more comprehensive and substantive manner.

In 2005, the Joint Declaration was followed by an agreement on an ASEAN-ROK Plan of Action to promote political security, economic, social, and cultural cooperation and to support ASEAN’s goal for a fully integrated ASEAN community by 2020 (including an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Plan of Action specifically aimed to implement the goals set out in the Joint Declaration.

In 2009, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Dialogue Partnership between ASEAN and Korea, the ASEAN-Korea Center was established. It was founded in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) signed by the 10 ASEAN member states and Korea at the 11th ASEAN-ROK Summit in 2007.

During the 13th ASEAN-ROK Summit on October 29, 2010, in Ha Noi, the Leaders agreed to elevate ASEAN-ROK dialogue relations from comprehensive cooperation to a strategic partnership and adopted the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-ROK Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity and its Action Plan, which covers the period of 2011-2015.

Political and Security Cooperation

ROK-ASEAN cooperation in the political sector has been strengthened by regular dialogue and exchange of views on regional and international issues through existing mechanisms such as summits, ministerial meetings, the ROK-ASEAN Dialogue, ASEAN+3 Cooperation, Post Ministerial Conference(PMC)+10 and the ASEAN Regional Forum(ARF). In combating terrorism and transnational crimes, the ASEAN has cooperated with the ROK through the ASEAN+3 process, namely ASEAN+3 Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime(AMMTC+3) and the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime+3(SOMTC+3) consultations, and under the ARF framework. ASEAN continues to support the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. The Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea(DPRK) is a participant in the ARF since 2000. The ROK has also acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation(TAC) in Southeast Asia in November, 2004 on the occasion to mark the 15th anniversary of Dialogue Relations between the ROK and ASEAN.

Economic Cooperation

Korea and the ASEAN are important trading partners to one another. ASEAN accounts for around 10% of Korea total export and import. The ROK-ASEAN bilateral trade grew from US$38.7 billion in 2003 to US$149 billion in 2017.

In order to enhance the ROK-ASEAN economic cooperation, the leaders of the ROK and ASEAN expressed commitment to develop a comprehensive partnership at the ROK-ASEAN Summit on October 8, 2003 in Bali, Indonesia. They tasked their ministers to discuss the possibility of establishing a Free Trade Area. Subsequently, an ROK-ASEAN Experts Group(AKEG) was established to draw up the Joint Study Report on the feasibility of an ROK-ASEAN FTA. The Joint Study has been completed and its recommendations were considered by the ROK-ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, pursuant to the endorsement given by the economic ministers of the ROK and ASEAN to the recommendations.

One of the key recommendations is to realize the ROK-ASEAN FTA by 2009 between the ROK and the ASEAN-6 countries with consideration for special and differential treatment for the developing countries of ASEAN and additional flexibility for the newer ASEAN member countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam(CLMV). These countries would be given an additional five years to realize the FTA.

Functional Cooperation

At the 4th ASEAN Informal Summit held in 2000 in Singapore, the ROK and ASEAN identified areas of information technology, human resource development, cultural exchanges, medical assistance and Mekong Basin development cooperation, as priority areas for cooperation. Since then, the ROK-ASEAN development cooperation has been expanded to cover the areas of trade, investment, science and technology, tourism, and environment. Cooperation in the areas of human resource development, people-to-people exchange and bridging the development gaps has been given due attention.

A number of ROK-ASEAN development cooperation projects have been implemented and supported by the ROK-ASEAN Special Cooperation Fund(SCF) and Future Oriented Cooperation Project(FOCP) Fund. From 1990 to 2009 the ROK contributed US$42 million.

People-to-people contact continues to be an area of importance in the ROK-ASEAN cooperation. Exchange programs are held for cultural experts, government officials, media personnel, academic and youth funded by the FOCP.

The ROK is also providing support for ASEAN's efforts to narrow the development gap among ASEAN member countries. It has pledged US$5 million and has taken up five projects between 2003 and 2008 in the areas of information and communication technology, capacity building in trade in goods and services, e-government and undertaking feasibility study for the missing links and spur links of the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link Projects in the CLMV countries.

(Sources: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Republic of Korea)