ASEAN-Korean Multilevel Cooperation

Political-security cooperation on the Korean peninsula is wide-ranging -  covering transnational crime, terrorism, human rights, governance, rule of law, nuclear non-proliferation (and disarmament) with the ultimate goal of promoting peace and stability. 

Economic cooperation is embodied in the full implementation of the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement covering the trade of goods, services and investment with South Korea’s second-largest trading partner. South Korea is also part of the negotiation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. ASEAN and Korea are on track to hit an estimated US$150 billion in bilateral trade by 2015 given that bilateral trade was US$131 billion in 2012.

South Korea was ASEAN’s fifth-largest source of FDI in 2012 and this trend looks set to grow ahead of the AEC. Tourism between ASEAN and South Korea is growing fast with ASEAN becoming the second most popular destination for South Korean tourists. 

Socio-cultural cooperation encompasses environmental protection, climate change, disaster management, sustainable forest management, energy and food security as well as education, health and culture. The South Korean initiative on Low-Carbon Green Growth and the East Asia Climate Partnership are examples of such cooperation.

The ASEAN-Korea Center in Seoul was opened in 2009 and continues to promote closer interactions with the appointment of the first resident Korean ambassador to ASEAN and the establishment of its diplomatic mission in Jakarta in 2012. Such appointments lay the groundwork for more meaningful interactions with strategic partnerships at a higher level.