|1989||Sectoral Dialogue Partner|
|1991||Full Dialogue Partner|
|1997||First ASEAN Plus Three Summit (on the sidelines of the 2nd ASEAN Informal Summit)|
|2004||Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership (at the 8th ASEAN-ROK Summit)|
|2005||ASEAN-ROK Plan of Action (at the 9th ASEAN-ROK Summit)|
|2007||Signing of the MOU on the establishment of the ASEAN-Korea Centre (at the 11th ASEAN-ROK Summit)|
|2007||Entry into force of the ASEAN-ROK Trade in Goods Agreement|
|2009||Inauguration of the ASEAN-Korea Centre in Seoul ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit|
|2009||Entry into force of the ASEAN-ROK Trade in Services Agreement and Investment Agreement|
|2010||Adoption of the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-ROK Strategic, Partnership for Peace and Prosperity and its Action Plan for the period of 2011-2015 (at the 13th ASEAN-ROK Summit)|
|2011||1st Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Adoption of the Han-River Declaration|
|2012||Establishment of the ROK Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta|
|2014||ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in Busan|
|2015||Plan of Action for the ASEAN-ROK Strategic Partnership, 17th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Malaysia|
|2016||18th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Vientiane|
|2017||Inauguration of the ASEAN Culture House in Busan, 19th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Manila|
|2018||20th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Singapore|
|2019||ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit, 1st Mekong-ROK Summit in Busan|
|2020||21st ASEAN-ROK Summit (Video Conference, Viet Nam)|
|2021||22nd ASEAN-ROK Summit (video conference, Brunei Darussalam)|
ASEAN and the Republic of Korea first established sectoral dialogue relations in November 1989. The ROK was accorded a full dialogue partner status by ASEAN at the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, which took place in Kuala Lumpur in July 1991. The year 2004 marked the 15th anniversary of ROK-ASEAN dialogue relations. To commemorate this occasion and to chart a new path for ASEAN-ROK relations for the 21st century, the ROK and ASEAN announced the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership at the 8th ASEAN-ROK Summit on November 30, 2004 in Vientiane. The Joint Declaration provided a blueprint for advancing ASEAN-ROK relations in a more comprehensive and substantive manner.
In 2005, the ASEAN-ROK Plan of Action was adopted to implement the goals set out in the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership and to promote political, economic, social, and cultural cooperation. It also laid out ways to support ASEAN to build a fully integrated ASEAN community by 2020.
In 2009, ASEAN and the ROK celebrated the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-ROK dialogue relations by holding a commemorative summit on June 1-2, 2009 in Jeju. The ASEAN-Korea Center was also established in accordance with the MOU signed by the ten ASEAN Member States and the ROK at the 11th ASEAN-ROK Summit in 2007.
At the 13th ASEAN-ROK Summit, which took place in Ha Noi on October 29, 2010, leaders agreed to elevate ASEAN-ROK dialogue relations to a strategic partnership. At the Summit, leaders also adopted the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-ROK Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity and its Plan of Action for the period of 2011-2015. In 2015, a new Plan of Action was adopted for the period of 2016-2020.
In September 2012, the ROK established its Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta and appointed the first resident ambassador in October to deepen its cooperation with ASEAN.
ASEAN and the ROK celebrated the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-ROK dialogue relations by holding a commemorative Summit on December 11-12, 2014 in Busan. In order to renew their commitment to taking ASEAN-ROK cooperation to a higher level, leaders agreed to adopt a Joint Statement titled : Our Future Vision of ASEAN-ROK Strategic Partnership, “Building Trust, Bringing Happiness.“
In 2017, ROK President Moon Jae-In announced the launch of the New Southern Policy. The overall goal of this policy is to substantially enhance the partnership between ASEAN and the ROK based on the 3Ps (people, prosperity, and peace), which correspond with the three pillars of the ASEAN Community. At the 21st ASEAN-ROK Summit in 2020, President Moon announced the New Southern Policy Plus, an upgraded version of the New Southern Policy reflecting changes in the global and regional environment.
In 2019, ASEAN and the ROK celebrated the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-ROK dialogue relations with a commemorative Summit on November 25-26 in Busan. Leaders adopted the ASEAN-ROK Joint Vision Statement to provide a strategic framework for solidifying the ASEAN-ROK partnership in the years ahead. In 2020, ASEAN and the ROK adopted a Plan of Action to implement the Joint Vision Statement.
ASEAN-ROK cooperation in the political sector has been strengthened through various channels such as summits, ministerial meetings, and senior officials meetings. The ROK has played an active role and contributed to advancing the following cooperation mechanisms.
The ROK has been actively engaged in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) since its establishment in 1994. The ROK co-chaired the AFR Inter-Sessional Meeting on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (2018-2020) and is serving as a co-chair of the ASF ISM on ICTs Security (2021-2023). The Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea has also participated in the ARF since 2000. The ROK has participated in the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus to increase cooperation in the seven priority areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security, military medicine, counter terrorism, peace-keeping operations, humanitarian mine action, and cyber security.
In 2019, the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime with the ROK was launched, providing an opportunity to deepen cooperation between ASEAN and the ROK on counter-terrorism and transnational crime. The 2nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was held in September 2021.
The ROK and ASEAN are invaluable trading partners to one another. In 2020, the trade volume between ASEAN and the ROK recorded 144 billion USD. In 2020, ASEAN become the ROK’s second largest trading partner (15% of Korea’s total trade) and the ROK become ASEAN’s sixth largest trading partner (6% of ASEAN’s total trade). Furthermore, ASEAN is the ROK’s second largest investment destination with the foreign direct investment inflow from the ROK reaching 9.77 billion USD in 2020.
ASEAN Member States and the ROK signed the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation in Kuala Lumpur on December 13, 2005. The ASEAN-ROK Trade in Goods Agreement was signed on August 24, 2006 and came into force in June 2007. The ASEAN-ROK Trade in Services Agreement was signed on November 21, 2007 and took effect on May 1, 2009. The ASEAN-ROK Investment Agreement was signed on June 2, 2009 and came into force on September 1, 2009.
Subsequently, the ASEAN-ROK Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) came into effect on January 1, 2010. The 3rd Protocol to Amend the ASEAN-ROK Trade in Goods Agreement was signed in November 2015. The 3rd Protocol has entered into force for the ROK and all ASEAN Member States except Viet Nam.
In 2019, the ROK and ASEAN launched the Dialogue between the ASEAN Secretary-General and the Association of ASEAN Korean Chambers as a new communication channel in order to cultivate a favorable environment for businesses and investment. The ROK and ASEAN are also working closely in infrastructure and future industries, such as those related to digital and green economies, in accordance with the ROK’s New Southern Policy Plus and ASEAN’s development strategies and initiatives like Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity(MPAC) 2025.
The ROK is also providing support for ASEAN’s efforts to narrow the development gap and improve the integration through promoting connectivity. The ROK is helping ASEAN to implement MPAC and Initiative for ASEAN Integration Programmes by conducting various programs such as the ASEAN Public Data Development Project, Technical Vocational Education and Training(TVET), and the K-City Network International Cooperation Program. Furthermore, ROK has initiated hosting Connectivity Forum with ASEAN Member States.
The ROK has also been working on promoting sub-regional economic cooperation including Mekong-ROK cooperation and BIMP-EAGA-ROK cooperation by hosting the First Mekong-ROK Summit on November 27, 2019 in Busan and launching the BIMP-EAGA-ROK Cooperation Fund in 2021.
ASEAN and the ROK are deepening social and cultural cooperation through various programs and interactions. Faced with the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, the ROK and ASEAN have been working closely in the public health area. The ROK has provided support for ASEAN and its Member States by making contributions to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and by conducting Enhancing the Detection Capacity for COVID-19 in ASEAN countries and the COVID-19 Comprehensive Response Program. ASEAN and the ROK also agreed to launch the ASEAN-ROK Health Ministers’ Meeting in 2022.
As non-traditional security threats such as climate change and environmental pollution are increasing in the region, ASEAN and the ROK have been stepping up cooperation to strengthen their response to these threats. As part of such efforts, ASEAN and the ROK held the Dialogue on Environment and Climate Change in September 2021. The ASEAN-ROK Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management will be launched in 2022 to further increase cooperation.
The ROK and ASEAN have implemented the ASEAN-ROK Media People Exchanges Programme and the ASEAN-ROK Film Leaders Incubator since 2012. The ROK and ASEAN are also carrying out various youth programs such as the ASEAN-Korean Youth Exchange, the Cultural Community Building Programme, and the ASEAN-Korea Frontiers Forum to provide the young people of ASEAN and the ROK opportunities to experience each other’s culture and promote understanding.
On education, the ROK has contributed to increasing ASEAN’s competitiveness by various means such as providing funds for the ASEAN-ROK Scholarship for Korean Studies Programme coordinated by the ASEAN University Network and carrying out Training Projects for ASEAN Children’s Librarians since 2010.
Furthermore, the ROK became ASEAN’s first dialogue partner to establish an ASEAN culture center outside the region. Established in 2017 in Busan the ASEAN Culture House plays a key role in introducing various historical, social, and cultural aspects of the ten ASEAN Member States to Korean people. The ASEAN Culture House concluded an MOU with the ASEAN Cultural Center in Bangkok in 2019 to promote cultural exchanges between ASEAN and the ROK.
The ASEAN-Korea Centre was established in March 2009 in Seoul. As an international organization, the centre plays a crucial role in expanding economic cooperation and facilitating cultural partnership between ASEAN Member States and the ROK.
The ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund (AKCF) was launched to further strengthen ASEAN-ROK relations by implementing cooperation projects outlined in the ASEAN-ROK Plan of Action. Since 1990, the ROK government has increased its annual contribution to the fund on multiple occasions, and in 2019, the size of the AKCF was doubled from US$ 7 million to US$ 14 million.
The AKCF has supported more than 400 projects agreed by both parties in areas ranging from technology transfer, economic development, and human resource development to people-to-people exchange. The strategic direction of the AKCF is defined in the Framework for the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund 2021-2025. The overall goal of the framework is to contribute to the realization of the ASEAN Vision 2025 in accordance with the selected priorities laid out in the ASEAN-ROK Plan of Action (2021-2025).
The ASEAN Plus Three cooperation began in December 1997 with the convening of an informal Summit among the Leaders of ASEAN and their counterparts from East Asia, namely China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) at the sidelines of the Second ASEAN Informal Summit in Malaysia.
The ASEAN Plus Three process was institutionalised in 1999 when the Leaders issued a Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation at their 3rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Manila. The ASEAN Plus Three Leaders expressed greater resolve and confidence in further strengthening and deepening East Asia cooperation at various levels and in various areas, particularly in economic and social, political, and other fields.
Since then, a number of key documents have been adopted to set the direction for ASEAN Plus Three cooperation. These include the Report of the East Asia Vision Group (EAVG) of 2001 and the Report of the East Asia Study Group (EASG) of 2002. The Final Report of the EASG was adopted by the ASEAN Leaders at the ASEAN Plus Three Summit in 2002 in Cambodia. The Report contains 17 short-term measures, and 9 medium and long-term measures.
Cooperation among the ASEAN and Plus Three countries is progressing well. ASEAN and Plus Three Countries hold regular dialogue and consultations at the summit, ministerial, senior officials and working groups/expert levels to strengthen and deepen cooperation.
Currently, there are over 60 mechanisms under the ASEAN Plus Three process, coordinating 22 areas of ASEAN Plus Three cooperation, which include economic, monetary and finance, political and security, tourism, agriculture, environment, energy, and ICT.
East Asia Summit, comprised of 18 countries, is a strategic forum for Asia Pacific leaders to exchange opinions on regional strategic and political affairs.
EAS was established in 2005 with 16 participants, including ten ASEAN countries, Republic of Korea, People’s Republic of China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India, as one of cooperation projects that the East Asia Study Group (EASG) recommended in 2002 for the establishment of East Asia Community. The United States of America and the Russian Federation joined in 2011, expanding the membership to 18.
The priority areas for EAS cooperation is environment and energy, education, finance, global health and pandemic diseasesm disaster management, ASEAN connectivity, economic cooperation and trade, food security, and maritime cooperation..
EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Senior Officials’ Meeting are held annually along with the East Asia Summit. EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which started as a working lunch, has been held annually since 2008 as a separate meeting to prepare for the Summit and discuss on major regional and international affairs and EAS cooperation. EAS Senior Officials’ Meeting, usually attended by Deputy Ministers, are also held to prepare for the Summit and Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and exchange opinions on major regional and international affairs.
The ASEAN Regional Forum(ARF), comprised of 27 Asia-Pacific countries, is a multilateral security mechanism designed to promote mutual trust and understanding as well as to seek peace, security and prosperity in the region. Since its establishment in 1994, the ROK has participated in the ARF, which is held annually in a city according to ASEAN chairmanship.
In the ARF, member states expand their cooperation activities, focusing on the five areas, which include Disaster Relief, Maritime Security, Non-proliferation and Disarmament, Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes, and ICT Security.
The ARF member states also share their views on regional and international issues in the ARF. By exchanging their ideas, the members enhance mutual understanding and trust, further their dialogue and cooperation, and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
|Dec. 1992||the ROK’s participation in the Mekong Donor Countries’ Meeting|
|Oct. 2010||the ROK president‘s proposal to launch the Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at the 13th ASEAN-ROK Summit|
|Oct. 2011||1st Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Seoul)
- Adopted the Han-River Declaration of Establishing Mekong-ROK Comprehensive Partnership for Mutual Prosperity
|July. 2012||2nd Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Phnom Penh)
- Agreed to establish the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund
- Agreed to designate 2014 as the Mekong-ROK Exchange Year
|May. 2013||1st Mekong-ROK Business Forum (Bangkok)|
|June. 2013||3rd Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Bandar Seri Begawan)
- Established the Mekong-ROK Cooperation Fund and adopted its TOR
|May. 2014||2nd Mekong-ROK Business Forum (Hanoi)|
|July. 2014||4th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Seoul)
- Adopted the 1st Mekong-ROK Plan of Action (2014-2017)
|July. 2015||3rd Mekong-ROK Business Forum (Phnom Penh)|
|Aug. 2015||5th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Kuala Lumpur)|
|June. 2016||4th Mekong-ROK Business Forum (Yangon)|
|July. 2016||6th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Vientiane)|
|Sept. 2017||7th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Busan)
- Adopted the 2nd Mekong-ROK Plan of Action (2017-2020)
|Oct. 2017||5th Mekong-ROK Business Forum (Vientiane)|
|Aug. 2018||8th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Singapore)|
|Nov. 2018||the ROK president’s proposal to launch the 1st Mekong-ROK Summit in 2019 at the 20th ASEAN-ROK Summit|
|Dec. 2018||6th Mekong-ROK Business Forum (Seoul)|
|Aug. 2019||9th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Bangkok)|
|Oct. 2019||7th Mekong-ROK Business Forum (Bangkok)|
|Nov. 2019||1st Mekong-ROK Summit (Busan)
- Adopted the Mekong-Han River Declaration for Establishing Partnership for People, Peace and Prosperity
- Agreed to designate 2021 as the Mekong-ROK Exchange Year in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of ministerial-level exchange
|Sept. 2020||10th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (virtual format)
- Adopted the 3rd Mekong-ROK Plan of Action (2021-25)
|Nov. 2020||2nd Mekong-ROK Summit (virtual format)
- Agreed to elevate the Mekong-ROK relations to a “Strategic Partnership for People, Prosperity, and Peace”
|Dec. 2020||8th Mekong-ROK Business Forum (Hanoi, hybrid format)|
|Sept. 2021||11th Mekong-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Seoul, hybrid format)
- Agreed to extend the Mekong-ROK Exchange Year until 2022
|Dec. 2021||9th Mekong-ROK Business Forum (virtual format)|