It was two years ago in Jakarta, that President Moon Jae-in first unveiled his vision to strengthen ties with Southeast Asian nations through his self-dubbed 'New Southern Policy.'
"My goal is to enhance Korea's ties with ASEAN to the same level as ties with our four neighboring powers. To develop our cooperation, the South Korean government aims to strongly push ahead with the 'New Southern Policy."
Since then, he has visited all ten ASEAN member nations being the first South Korean leader to do so.
In addition, he completed the impressive feat all within the first half of his term.
He has worked to strengthen ties with the nations in all areas, from politics, economy, to culture.
And his determination to do so remains unchanged until this day.
"ASEAN enjoys faster growth and has greater growth potential than any other region. We must open Asia's future of peace and co-prosperity with ASEAN."
A product of his devotion, beginning Monday, President Moon hosts the ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit and Mekong-Korea summit in Busan to celebrate their 30 years of friendship.
Among the president's key goals is moving away from South Korea's heavy reliance on its neighboring parties the U.S., China, Japan, and Russia.
Economically speaking, the ASEAN market is strategically important amid the trade conflicts between the U.S. and China, and between South Korea and Japan.
These provide an extra impetus for Seoul to solidify its ties with Southeast Asia.
"Following the ASEAN-Korea special summit, we will adopt a joint statement on the ASEAN-Korea vision, which will be the basis for cooperation. After the Mekong-Korea summit, we'll adopt a declaration that reflects 3P cooperation plans people, peace, prosperity, important achievements and the future direction of cooperation."
President Moon also believes Southeast Asian nations have an essential role to play in resolving the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
All ten member nations have diplomatic ties with North Korea.
Although North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will not attend the gathering, the Busan summit is expected to reaffirm ASEAN's support for the Moon administration's drive for peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
"Based on the outcomes reached in Busan, President Moon will be looking to create strong partnerships lasting for the next 30 years and beyond. The summit is expected to be a milestone in their relations, with ASEAN remaining a diplomatic priority for the Moon administration. Park Hee-jun, Arirang News."