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Significance of Moon's ASEAN trip Updated: 2019-09-09 15:52:20 KST

President Moon Jae-in has wrapped up his three-nation tour to ASEAN member nations, namely Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.
With his drive for the so-called 'New Southern Policy' he has now become the first sitting South Korean President to visit all 10 ASEAN nations, and during his stay in the last three countries he has made various agreements that would further enhance South Korea-ASEAN ties.
Today we go in-depth on the significance of the president's trip and the remaining challenges of his 'New Southern Policy'. with Dr. Lee Jaehyon of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

1. President Moon became the first sitting South Korean president to have visited all 10 ASEAN member nations. Let's start with the significance this has on South Korea-ASEAN relations.

2. Amid growing external uncertainties, particularly the growing Seoul-Tokyo trade tensions and the U.S-China trade war that looks far from over, ASEAN nations are gaining more strategic importance. How is Seoul's current trade with ASEAN nations, and how do you forecast their trade relations in the future?

3. President Moon has pushed for his so-called "New Southern Policy" since 2017, aiming to uplift South Korea-ASEAN ties to the level currently seen between South Korea and the four regional powers. How much did last week's trip to Thailand, Myanmar and Laos contribute to achieving that goal?

4. President Moon, following summit talks with his Thai counterpart, said the two nations have agreed to expand cooperation in 4th Industrial revolution technologies, and he has also attended a launching ceremony of 'Brand K', which is a collaborated brand of some 40 small and mid-sized Korean firms that sell various products. Expected economic effects?

5. President Moon, during his stay in Thailand, also singed a military intel-sharing pact, GSOMIA, with Thailand which came on the heels of the Seoul-Tokyo GSOMIA's termination. How do you see this?

6. Now to Myanmar. The nation is often referred to as the 'last untapped territory' in Southeast Asia. How do you assess its economic growth potential and future South Korea-Myanmar economic relations?

7. Moon's last stop was Laos. South Korea has made various efforts so far to expand cooperation with countries through which the Mekong River flows, and the longest part of the river flows through Laos. How do you gauge the economic potential of an enhanced South Korea-Laos cooperation?

8. The 'peace process' on the Korean Peninsula is also one of President Moon's signature policies. What significance do ASEAN nations have on his push for the peace process?

9. Unfavorable external conditions linger over Korea' security and economy. What are some of the remaining challenges of President Moon's 'New Southern Policy'?
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