23 May 2017
The new South Korean President, Mr Moon Jae-in, has promised to create more jobs and jump-start a sluggish economy.
He has also advocated a more independent approach to foreign policy as well as a reduction in South Korea’s over-reliance on traditional major powers such as the United States and China. Therefore, there is a case to be made for Seoul to look more closely at the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) and think about how to further buttress ties.
In this highly significant 50th year of ASEAN’s founding, it may therefore be timely for South Korea and ASEAN to reassess how this relationship can be taken to the next level in practical terms. More can be done by South Korea to reap the economic benefits from the myriad opportunities present in the South-east Asian region. ASEAN itself would also stand to benefit from a greater South Korean presence in the region as it could serve as a viable third Asian option, besides China and Japan.
If the new Moon administration is able to formulate a coherent ASEAN strategy and implement it, this could prove to be the missing piece in South Korea’s foreign economic policy puzzle.
… Shawn Ho is an Associate Research Fellow with the Regional Security Architecture Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). Harry Sa is a Research Analyst with the US Programme at RSIS.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 23/05/2017