The Korea Herald


Yoon urges firm response to NK threats at ASEAN summit

Yoon vows stronger economic, security ties with ASEAN member states

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Sept. 6, 2023 - 15:20

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President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) is being greeted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the ASEAN-Korea Summit held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia on Wednesday (local time). President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) is being greeted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the ASEAN-Korea Summit held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia on Wednesday (local time).

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol urged a decisive international response to North Korean provocations while emphasizing the importance of bolstering economic and security ties with Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states during the ASEAN-South Korea summit on Wednesday.

At the summit in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, Yoon underscored the necessity of a unified and firm response from the global community to fully denuclearize North Korea due to the gravity of the North's nuclear and missile threats, according to a statement issued by the presidential office.

Yoon stressed that North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats are "a serious threat" to peace on the Korean Peninsula and the Indo-Pacific region, and "a direct challenge" to the international nonproliferation system.

Yoon urged the 10 ASEAN nations to join hands in "blocking the sending of workers and the illegal theft of virtual assets,” which are the main sources of funds for North Korea’s nuclear and missile development. He also said that no United Nations member state should abandon its obligations to sanction North Korea, as stipulated by the UN Security Council, including the prohibition of illegal arms trade.

The president told the ASEAN leaders that he would strengthen security cooperation with the region to protect the rules-based order based on universal values. He vowed to strengthen cooperation in the defense industry and in responding to transnational crimes, such as those related to cybersecurity, drugs and terrorism.

Yoon also stressed his determination to create new growth engines for ASEAN nations, narrow the development gap and contribute to common prosperity.

Announcing that the “Korea-ASEAN Digital Innovation Flagship Project” is scheduled to be launched next year, he promised the Korean government would continue to provide necessary support to revitalize private investment in future industries, such as in digital spaces, electric vehicles, batteries and smart cities.

Yoon also stressed the importance of cooperation with ASEAN member countries based on strengthened relations South Korea forged with the United States and Japan at their August meeting at Camp David. The ASEAN summit is the first diplomatic meeting since Yoon made a cooperation agreement with US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

He said the three countries decided to coordinate their Indo-Pacific strategies and discover new areas of cooperation based on their full support for an ASEAN-led regional structure.

“To this end, we launched the annual Korea-US-Japan Indo-Pacific dialogue, and a new Korea-US-Japan maritime security cooperation framework to support the maritime security capabilities of ASEAN and the Pacific islands,” the president said.

He also encouraged ASEAN leaders to back Busan’s 2030 World Expo bid, with the decision expected in late November.

“Leaders, Korea has risen from the ruins of war and has become an advanced country in just half a century,” he said. “Korea wants to share its development experience with many maritime countries and neighboring countries, including ASEAN, through the 2030 Busan World Expo.”

Yoon promised to provide a platform for finding solutions to the challenges facing humanity.

“Busan, which served as the host city for the Korea-ASEAN Special Summit in both 2014 and 2019, might already be familiar to ASEAN leaders present here,” he said. “We solicit your attention and endorsement to enable Busan to once more play a pivotal role in shaping a brighter future for humanity, both in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.”