The South Korean leader took another step forward to carry out promises he made earlier-- through his stops in three of the ten ASEAN nations this week.
President Moon Jae-in's purpose was clear throughout, adding layers to South Korea's relations with Brunei, Malaysia and Cambodia on multiple fronts for a more prosperous and peaceful future, a vision that he sees in ASEAN member states.
Hopping from one country to another, the president clinched bilateral deals in many areas including Information Technology, welfare, transportation and education.
In the backdrop of these business deals, is the president's 'New Southern Policy' that redirects Seoul's attention to many developing nations in Southeast Asia.
The president's pivot to ASEAN is all the more crucial, especially at a time when Seoul's main trading partners across the globe are showing signs of economic vulnerability.
The U.S. and China are still locked in a bitter trade dispute, while ties between Seoul and Tokyo have been on thin ice over historical disputes from Japan's colonial past.
President Moon also underlined the importance of peace in widening the range of cooperation between Korea and ASEAN members.
"With lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, the scope of business cooperation between our nations will open up even more, giving more opportunities to entrepreneurs."
"Having cemented bilateral relations with these countries both economically and diplomatically, President Moon is hopeful that Seoul’s ties with ASEAN will rise to the level of those of the four major powers surrounding the peninsula,… the U.S., China, Japan and Russia, and expand South Korea's diplomatic horizon.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News, Phnom Penh."