Prime Minister emphasised preparedness to address future challenges and people-to-people ties through “soft power” at the 22nd ASEAN – ROK Summit

Prime Minister emphasised preparedness to address future challenges and people-to-people ties through “soft power” at the 22nd ASEAN – ROK Summit

26 Oct 2021

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The Prime Minister of Thailand supported advancing of ASEAN-ROK cooperation through connecting ASEAN initiatives with the New Southern Policy and New Southern Policy Plus, as well as promoting sustainable economic recovery through development of digital economy as well as sharing experiences and best practices between ASEAN and the ROK in the areas of science, technology, innovation and human capital development.

On 26 October 2021, H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, participated in the 22nd ASEAN- Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit via videoconference. The Summit adopted the Joint Statement of the 22nd ASEAN-ROK Summit on Advancing ASEAN-ROK Cooperation for People, Peace and Prosperity, aiming at strengthening the partnership between ASEAN and the ROK and connecting ASEAN initiatives with the New Southern Policy and New Southern Policy Plus. This included, among others, the establishment of various centers to strengthen people-centered community and enhance human security for sustainable recovery and development. These are in line with Thailand’s focus on moving forward to the Next Normal by reinventing Thailand both in economic and social aspects.

On public health, the Prime Minister expressed appreciation to the ROK for its additional contribution of 5 million USD to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund. Thailand supported the establishment of health dialogues with the ROK both under the ASEAN and bilateral frameworks, as well as sharing of experiences and best practices in response to public health emergencies, science, technology and innovation, including research and development of vaccines. The ROK’s plan to become a Global Vaccine Hub will contribute to the region’s preparedness for future waves of COVID-19 and emerging diseases.

On economic recovery and improving people’s livelihood, the Prime Minister emphasised that ASEAN and the ROK should focus on the development of smart infrastructure, smart city and future industries, as well as enhancing regional economic integration and supply chains resilience. He also stressed the importance of the early entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. In addition, the Prime Minister highlighted on digital economy by utilising digital technology and e-commerce should be enhanced to promote economic recovery, especially for MSMEs, start-ups and local entrepreneurs, to ensure their access to financing facilities and equip them with necessary skills for the 4IR.

In addition, on connectivity, the Prime Minister focussed on the development of smart and green infrastructure and invited the ASEAN Member States and the ROK to explore cooperation on alternative approaches such as the Bio-Circular-Green Economy Model or the BCG, which is in line with the ROK’s “Green New Deal” policy.

On human capital development, the Prime Minister of Thailand highlighted the importance of people-to-people ties, especially among youth and younger generation, particularly through the use of “soft power” such as music, movies, sports, social and digital media, and by famous artists, such as Black Pink and BTS. He also encouraged more joint activities by the ASEAN-ROK Centre in Seoul, ASEAN-ROK Cultural Center in Bangkok and ASEAN-ROK Culture House in Busan.

The Prime Minister also believed that peace and stability are solid foundations for prosperity and sustainable development in the region.

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