SG Speech 2018-12-19
The 6th Mekong-Republic of Korea Business Forum
13 December, Seoul, Republic of Korea
by H.E. Lee Hyuk, Secretary General of the ASEAN-Korea Centre
◆ H.E. Lee Taeho, Vice Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea
◆ Mr. Moon Hwan Kim, Director General for Global Market Policy, Ministry of SMEs and Startups, Republic of Korea
◆ Mr. Jong-kil Kim, Vice Chairman, INNOBIZ Association, Republic of Korea
◆ Mr. Chan Aye, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar
◆ H.E. Ko Ko Lwin, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Myanmar
◆ H.E. Dr. Siphana Sok, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Cambodia
◆ Mr. Kingphokeo Phommahaxay, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lao PDR
◆ Mr. Suwanchai Lohawatanakul, Director-General, The Office of SME Promotion, Thailand
◆ H.E. Mr. Thao Van Nguyen, Assistant Minister, Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam
◆ Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, Director, Mekong Institute
Honorable speakers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, let me extend my warmest welcome to all of you here to the 6th Mekong-ROK Business Forum. I would also like to congratulate the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of SMEs and Startups for holding such a meaningful event.
The Mekong region is a valley of growth potential in ASEAN. It has been playing a leading role in ASEAN economic growth. For example, with a phenomenal average GDP growth rate of 6.85% in 2017, 4 Mekong countries except Thailand surpassed the rest ASEAN member states in GDP growth rate.
Considering this progress, I am certain that the Mekong region will continue to be a driving force of ASEAN economy by taking additional cooperative measures and overcoming existing challenges.
As the Korean government adopted the New Southern Policy one year ago, both public and private sectors are working on a visionary plan for cooperation with ASEAN. This plan is expected to help build and consolidate an ASEAN-Korea community of shared future and promote common development.
For this, I think that the Mekong countries provide a plenty of room for cooperation.
First, Mekong countries may play a key role in deepening cooperation in the traditional sectors of trade and investment. In fact, ASEAN and Korea have already made many achievements on this front. Also as Korean companies continue to seek business opportunities with ASEAN, especially with Mekong countries, mutual trade and investment are most likely to increase. The upgrading of the Korea-ASEAN FTA and FTAs between Korea and individual ASEAN states would also facilitate further cooperation.
Second, infrastructure could be a major area for deeper cooperation, as a number of ASEAN states lack sufficient expertise in the sector. As a matter of fact, the two sides have a series of ongoing and new projects collaborate on, which will significantly strengthen connectivity in the region and improve regional economic prospects in the long run.
Third, cooperation on ecological and environmental protection will be an important part of building a Korea-ASEAN community of shared future. As rapid economic development had led to inevitable environmental issues, Korea has learned quite a few lessons and gathered much experience in sustainable development.
This also explains why this year’s forum is held under the theme of “Promoting Co-prosperity through Eco-friendly Innovation among SMEs in the Mekong Countries and the ROK.” Through experience, we have learned the importance of sustainable development, to ensure that both communities and ecosystems can continue to flourish.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I sincerely hope this forum becomes a platform for future development for the Mekong region and ASEAN, through enhanced cooperation and exchanges among small- and medium-sized enterprises of Korea and Mekong countries.
Finally, as we witnessed “Miracle of the Han River” in Korea, I truly wish for a new “Miracle of the Mekong River”, and wish you all a meaningful time with fruitful outcomes.
Thank you very much. 감사합니다.