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FM Kang calls for S. Korea to seize middle power status to bolster ASEAN policy

All News 18:48 June 03, 2020

SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha highlighted the need Wednesday for South Korea to seize its diplomatic status, bolstered by its response to the new coronavirus, to expand its policy initiative aimed at deepening ties with Southeast Asian countries.

Kang made the remarks during a videoconference with chiefs of South Korean diplomatic missions in 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is a core partner of Seoul's New Southern Policy.

"We need to further expand and deepen the New Southern Policy based on our capabilities for innovation that have been employed in our response to COVID-19, and the status as a competent middle power that has been further solidified," Kang said.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha speaks takes part in a videoconference with chiefs of South Korean missions in the ASEAN region at the foreign ministry in Seoul on June 3, 2020. (Yonhap)

The policy, one of the Moon Jae-in administration's signature diplomatic initiatives, aims to strengthen relations with ASEAN -- a crucial partner for South Korea due to its growth potential, rich resources and geopolitical importance.

Pointing to "unstable international situations," Kang stressed that the strategic importance of the regional bloc as a "trustworthy" partner has grown.

"If we make efforts, taking the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity, the New Southern Policy will become a fertilizer to further solidify the foundation for our diplomacy," Kang said.

At the video-linked session, Park Bok-yeong, head of a government committee on the policy, said that the economic and political importance of the ASEAN region has been increasing amid a major-power conflict over global supply chains.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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