At a virtual meeting on Tuesday of the South Korea and ASEAN foreign ministers, Seoul's foreign minister pledged to deepen cooperation with Southeast Asian countries to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighted the need for strong global solidarity.
"The Republic of Korea will work together with ASEAN members, fully investing in the priorities set out in the New Southern Policy Plus, aligning them with the objectives of the ASEAN comprehensive recovery framework."
Also discussed were the South Korea-ASEAN Summit slated for October, vaccine partnerships, economic recovery and issues related to Myanmar.
Regarding the restoration last week of inter-Korean communication lines, ASEAN voiced support for engagement for dialogue with North Korea.
Regarding the South China Sea issue, the South Korean minister reiterated the need for peace and stability on the sea, stressing the importance of international laws and freedom of navigation.
On the same day, South Korea also took part in the ASEAN Plus Three meeting, involving China and Japan to discuss responses to COVID-19 and efforts toward an economic recovery.
A series of virtual meetings are set to take place this week including the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Wednesday, which involves the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.
The agenda there will include regional and global affairs, as well as COVID-19 and climate change.
On Friday, South Korea takes part in the ASEAN Regional Forum, or A-R-F, which involves North Korea, the U.S., China and Japan to discuss Korean Peninsula issues and other regional affairs.
At last year's virtual A-R-F, North Korea's ambassador to Indonesia took part on behalf of the regime's foreign minister.
It has yet to be announced who'll be participating from the North this year, but there's speculation that the North Korean ambassador will join this year's forum, too.
However, a senior official at the U.S. State Department said Monday that they do expect it will be the North's foreign minister, though Secretary Antony Blinken has no plans to engage with him.
The State Department says North Korea will be on the agenda during meetings with ASEAN this week along with the South China Sea and Myanmar issues.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.