SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday emphasized the significance of the upcoming summit with 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) set to be held later this month in the country’s southern port city of Busan.
Moon said during a weekly cabinet meeting, held at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center, that the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit will begin in the port city from Nov. 25 along with the inaugural Mekong-ROK summit to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN-ROK dialogue partnership.
The ROK is an acronym of the Republic of Korea.
It will be the biggest multilateral summit to be held here under the current South Korean government, Moon noted.
The ASEAN-ROK summit is slated from Nov. 25 to Nov. 26, while the Mekong-ROK summit is scheduled for Nov. 27 involving five Southeast Asian countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Moon said his government continued efforts to strengthen cooperation with the ASEAN since he took office two and a half years ago, leading to the faster-than-ever advance in their cooperative relations in every field, including diplomacy, economy, culture and exchanges.
From that perspective, the deal on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was “very meaningful,” Moon noted.
“The RCEP is the world’s largest mega free trade agreement (FTA) covering half of the world’s population, and taking up one third of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and about 30 percent of trade worldwide,” Moon said.
Moon said it would be imperative to promote free trade not just for South Korea’s economy but also for coexistence and prosperity between South Korea and the ASEAN, anticipating the final signing of the RCEP next year to open the world’s biggest free trade market and spread the value of free trade.
Fifteen participating countries concluded the text-based RCEP negotiations and all market access issues last week in Bangkok, Thailand with an aim to sign the mega free-trade pact in 2020.
Officially launched in 2012, the RCEP brought together 10 ASEAN member countries and their six trade partners in the region, including China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.