South Korean President Moon Jae-In ended a six day official visit to Thailand, Myanmar and Laos today after signing multiple high profile deals that include GSMIA (General Security of Military Information Agreement)-an agreement for military intelligence sharing with Thailand, and a $1 billion aid to Myanmar along with several MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Laos for business partnerships that would enable South Korean firms to foray into the hydroelectric power and ICT business sectors in Laos.
The visit is considered significant in more than one way because in the beginning of his tenure, Moon Jae-In had vowed to visit all the ASEAN countries. And he is also the first South Korean head of state to visit Laos. On his ASEAN visit to the three countries, South Korea’s Moon Jae-In discussed economy, national defense and arms development. The visit by the South Korean President to ASEAN came two months prior to Asean-South Korea Summit to be held in November in South Korea’s Busan.
The visit is widely coined as Moon Jae-In’s ASEAN diplomacy which is said to be necessary amid the US-China trade war and South Korea’s worsening bilateral ties with Japan. Through his visit, South Korea is seeking new partnership in terms of strategic, production, consumer markets as well as for direct investments with the ASEAN countries. Experts have said the visit by South Korean President Moon Jae-In is significant in South Korean diplomacy as it would lessen its dependence on China in the region. This new diplomacy of South Korea called the New Southern Policy is expected to reduce South Korea’s reliance on the United States, China, Japan and Russia.
The ASEAN- Republic of Korea (ROK) Commemorative Summit to be held in Busan in ROK on 25th and 26th November in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-ROK Dialogue Partnership is expected to bolster the partnership between South Korea And ASEAN countries.