President Moon announces ‘New Southern Policy 2.0’ following summit . . .
South Korea announced its new ‘New Southern Policy (NSP) 2.0’ (NSP 2.0) plan Wednesday following a summit celebrating 30 years of relations with ASEAN earlier in the week. With 10 ASEAN states in attendance, the summit in the South Korean city of Busan was the largest diplomatic event under President Moon Jae-in’s administration, and reiterated shared values of inclusiveness, connectivity, peace, and free trade – including the announcement of a South Korean FTA with Indonesia. NSP 2.0 will formally launch in 2021 and seeks to further enhance co-operation on security, trade and investment, and people-to-people flows between South Korea and ASEAN member states. Discussions during the summit particularly underscored the digital economy, cybersecurity, and transportation as key areas of collaboration.
Diversification amid trade wars . . .
President Moon launched the initial NSP in November 2017, seeking to enhance South Korea’s ties with ASEAN countries and India. Its principal objective is to lift Seoul’s strategic ties with ASEAN to the level of those with the U.S., China, Japan, and Russia. The NSP is a recognition of both the commercial and security importance of ASEAN, which is poised to become the economic engine of the world in the 21st century. The NSP also highlights South Korea’s attempt to diversify its strategic partnership as its position between the U.S. and China becomes increasingly precarious, in addition to recent strains on its ties with Japan over historical issues.
The Canadian parallel . . .
Canada’s difficulties amid the U.S.-China rivalry parallel those of South Korea, and the importance of trade diversification for Canada has been raised often in recent years. Southeast Asia will increasingly become strategically important for Canada’s national interest, and there is a strong argument for Canada to enhance its ties with the ASEAN bloc. Japan has consistently invested in the region since the 1980s. China has also increased its presence in the region through the Belt and Road Initiative in recent years. In this context, a strategy that reflects Canada’s earnest, long-term commitment to the region might be beneficial.
- Channel News Asia: Strong economic ties, cybersecurity cooperation the way forward for ASEAN and South Korea
- Yonhap News Agency: S. Korea announces New Southern Policy 2.0 plan after Busan summit with ASEAN
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Republic of Korea): New Southern Policy (in Korean)