South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Monday visited Thailand to promote South Korea’s New Southern Policy, aimed to step up the country’s ties with Asean countries on par with that it has with major powers.
The policy includes seeking geopolitical support in the wake of robust developments over the Korean Peninsula and forging economic ties with Thailand, which lasted year shared trade valued at US$11.7 billion (Bt388 billion) with the republic.
Kang met Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on Monday, the occasion of the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Prayut underlined his government’s much-hyped Eastern Economic Corridor, telling Kang that the country would welcome Korean investment in the mega-project.
“[I] hope that South Korea will see potentials and opportunities to support trade and investment between the two countries even more,” Prayut said, as quoted by Deputy Government Spokesperson Lt-General Werachon Sukondhapatipak.
In May, Thailand and South Korea agreed to set up a new joint committee for cooperation on trade and investment. Thailand is promoting the EEC scheme including human resources development, supports to SMEs and 10-targeted industries through the committee.
The two countries also held the Maekyung Thailand Forum last month, attended by hundreds of business entities from both countries.
Kwon Pyung-oh, president and CEO of Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, said back then that the promotion of economic ties would help reduce South Korea’s trade dependence on the US and China.
The New Southern Policy is being pushed by the Moon Jae-in administration to level up ties with Asean to compete with that of the US, China, Japan and Russia in areas of geopolitical values, growth potential and resources.
This also includes Asean’s pivot to the Korean Peninsula. While some Southeast Asian countries including Thailand maintain diplomatic relations with North Korea, they mostly adhere to the anti-nuclear-launch international resolution when taking a stance on that country’s aggression.
Prayut on Monday also congratulated Kang for a successful historic North-South Korea summit, as well as the US-North Korea summit, which the premier said “reflect wills to achieve sustained peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula”.
Kang replied that South Korea would have to overcome challenges and push forward to build peace in the region, according to a source.South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha meets her Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai