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S. Korea's foreign ministry to create ASEAN bureau

All News 20:53 February 20, 2019

SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's foreign ministry plans to set up a new bureau to handle affairs regarding Southeast Asian nations in a bid to spur the country's New Southern Policy, an official said Wednesday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) currently has a South Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau, composed of three organizations: the Southeast Asia Division, Southwest Asia and Pacific Division and ASEAN Cooperation Division.

It is pushing for the establishment of a separate bureau to cover the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the ministry official.

The move is part of efforts to strengthen ASEAN-related diplomacy in line with the Moon Jae-in administration's New Southern Policy aimed at improving relations with countries located southwest of the peninsula.

S. Korea's foreign ministry to create ASEAN bureau - 1

MOFA is also considering a bureau to focus on China affairs separately from the Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau, which also deals with diplomacy on Japan.

The ministry is seeking to double the number of its officials at the nation's diplomatic mission to ASEAN to 10.

Earlier Wednesday, the government held the first official meeting of a committee to prepare for a special summit between South Korea and ASEAN slated for November.

The event will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the two sides establishing their regular "Dialogue" forum.

The exact date and host city of the special summit have yet to be announced, with two major port cities -- Incheon and Busan -- reportedly among the top candidates.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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