The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Thailand and the Mission of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN co-hosted the New Southern Policy Connectivity Forum on 22 June
1. The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Thailand and the Mission of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN co-hosted the New Southern Policy (NSP) Connectivity Forum entitled “Strengthening Partnership for Connectivity in Thailand, Mekong and ASEAN,” under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, on 22 June via video conference.
2. The New Southern Policy Connectivity Forum has been launched this year, in realization of the New Southern Policy Plus, to take stock of ROK-ASEAN joint efforts on connectivity and discuss ways to advance them. The first NSP Connectivity Forum, which aims to discuss enhancing connectivity on a country-specific and also region-oriented basis, was held in Thailand and has played a leading role in strengthening connectivity in the Mekong sub-region, ASEAN and beyond.
3. H.E. Lee Wook-heon, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Thailand, in his Welcoming Remarks, suggested ways to cooperate on enhanced connectivity at three levels – Thailand, Mekong and ASEAN – emphasizing that connectivity has assumed even more importance since the COVID-19 pandemic. He emphasized that recovery and promotion of connectivity not only at the physical and institutional level but at the people-to-people level is a key task.
- He proposed deepening pragmatic cooperation with the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy Model and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) of Thailand in areas such as smart cities and New and Renewable Energy, and promoting Mekong sub-region connectivity through the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund (MKCF) and the ROK’s contribution to ACMECS.
- He reiterated the importance of deepening collaboration on enhanced people-to-people connectivity between the ROK and ASEAN, underlining the importance of expanding opportunities for the future generations of the ROK and ASEAN to interact with each other and to gain a deeper mutual understanding,.
4. H.E. Thani Thongphakdi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, in his Congratulatory Message, noted the relevancy of the NSP Connectivity Forum, emphasizing that COVID-19 has served to emphasize the importance of interconnectedness and cooperation.
- He explained that as connectivity is at the top of Thailand’s agenda and also one of the priority areas under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific or AOIP, Thailand has proactively pushed forward the “Connecting the Connectivities” initiative in order to enhance synergies with various regional strategies including the New Southern Policy, whilst also looking forward to cooperation with partners for the effective implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework.
- He underlined that it should be our common goal to enhance people’s livelihoods, well-being and welfare with no one left behind, as reflected in the NSP vision to build a “people-centered community of peace and prosperity.” He proposed that the ROK, Thailand and ASEAN can cooperate further, in particular, in science, technology and innovation, smart infrastructure and smart cities, green development, digital trade and digital connectivity.
5. Session 1, under the theme of “Connectivity and Implementation of the MPAC 2025 in Thailand,” was attended by the ASEAN Secretariat, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University and the Eastern Economic Corridor Office, providing an opportunity to review and share information on policies and main projects of Thailand on connectivity and recommendations on enhancing connectivity in Thailand.
6. In Session 2, Executive Director of the Mekong Institute, gave a presentation on “partnership for strengthening connectivity in the Mekong region,” which was followed by panel discussions in which the Korea Transport Institute, Thammasat University, the Australian Embassy in Thailand (P4I) and the US Embassy in Thailand participated.
7. This Forum is also valued as an opportunity to seek harmonious partnership with main partner countries including the US and Australia, and to present a vision for synergies between the New Southern Policy and their initiatives in the region.
Published : June 24, 2021