16 September 2017
Beijing, angered by Seoul’s controversial deployment of an American missile shield system, boycotted South Korean companies and pop stars, and banned tour packages to South Korea in protest.
But as things turned out, China’s retaliatory moves have benefited South-east Asian countries.
South Korean President Moon Jae In, who has stressed that ASEAN is “as important” as the United States and other neighbours, is also likely to visit two ASEAN states by the end of the year.
Mr Shawn Ho, associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said state visits would signal Mr Moon’s “strong interest to engage ASEAN early on in his presidency despite the other major issues that require his attention in North-east Asia”.
A check with South Korea’s presidential office showed that Mr Moon “will likely visit” Vietnam for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, and the Philippines for the ASEAN-Korea Summit. Both are in November.
Mr Ho said Mr Moon’s interest in expanding ties with ASEAN is “encouraging and most welcome”.
“The challenge is for him and his government to sustain this level of interest and engagement in ASEAN, especially when there is a crisis on the Korean peninsula,” he said.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 18/09/2017