President Rodrigo Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-In

President Rodrigo Duterte joined South Korean President Moon Jae-In and other leaders from South East Asia in discussing regional connectivity and charting the future course of relations of South Korea with the regional bloc..

In his opening statement, Moon noted the evolving decades long friendship of his country with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“I hope that we can pen new doors of cooperation for the future building on the progress of ASEAN-Korean relationship so far,” Moon said.

The South Korean leader said his government’s Southern policy aims to further deepen this relationship and explore new areas of cooperation

Speaking for the ASEAN, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha meanwhile affirmed their support toward the South Korean efforts for the total denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. He also expressed ASEAN’s willingness to help facilitate dialogues between North and South Korea.

“Economic growth and sustainable development in the region are dependent on a foundation of peace and stability. ASEAN therefore attaches great importance to peace and stability on a denuclearized Korean peninsula and in this context we welcome President Moon’s commitment. ASEAN stands ready to provide ASEAN-led platforms as a means of facilitating dialogue amongst the ROK and the parties concerned,” the Thai premiere said.

By the end of the summit, South Korea and ASEAN agreed to build a people-centered community of peace and prosperity and to advance their partnership into a more dynamic relationship that will better respond to opportunities and challenges.

Duterte also attended the ASEAN-ROK innovation showcase and the ASEAN-ROK startup summit at the sidelines of the main event. 

The Chief Executive shared a light moment with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as they lit stars as symbols for startups during the program.

The President immediately headed back to Manila following the event. (Jasper Camilo)