President Moon Jae-in has proposed establishing a healthcare and vaccine initiative between South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Moon took part in an online summit Tuesday with ASEAN's 10 member countries.
The Blue House says the initiative would be aimed at expanding production capacity of vaccines and treatments while ensuring fair distribution.
He also pledged an additional five million U.S. dollars this year to a fund set up by ASEAN.. to speed up the distribution of coronavirus vaccines in the region and to contribute to the members' economic recovery.
South Korea has been an active participant in ASEAN's COVID-19 response fund and the region's reserve of medical supplies.
"We must deepen our friendship to overcome COVID-19 and achieve a stronger recovery. Recently, the Delta variant has spread in regions where vaccine distribution is low, and frequent disruptions in production have hampered the global economic recovery. There is a linke between the difficulties of countries that lack vaccines and countries that do not. The path to overcoming COVID-19 is through solidarity and cooperation."
Moon said South Korea places high importance on ties with ASEAN, and that it plans to work together to overcome the pandemic and create an inclusive and sustainable future.
South Korea and ASEAN have stepped up cooperation since 2017 when Moon unveiled his New Southern Policy to boost ties with the region.
During the meeting, Moon also called for ASEAN to support a swift resumption of dialogue with North Korea for lasting peace and complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
In a joint statement, the leaders agreed to advance their strategic partnership into one that's more substantial and mutually beneficial to better respond to regional and global opportunities and challenges and contribute to enhancing peace and prosperity.
On Wednesday President Moon will attend the ASEAN+3 Summit along with the leaders of Japan and China which will be followed by the East Asia Summit.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.