The 40-day countdown for the South Korea, ASEAN Commemorative Summit kicked off on Wednesday with eyes on the special summit next month which will bring together heads of state from ten members of the ASEAN countries to South Korea's southeastern port city of Busan.
With emphasis on the three Ps - People, Prosperity and Peace - as coined by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, summit organizers said they're keeping their fingers crossed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will make a last-minute decision to take part in the November summit.
"We continue to believe that if Chairman Kim visits, it will be positive for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."
"All 3-and-a-half million citizens of Busan dearly wish that Chairman Kim visits the city. We still cherish the time when we welcomed and met North Korean athletes and officials during the 2002 Asia Games. And I think the North also has a good image of Busan."
However, for now South Korean officials echo in one voice that the North Korean leader's visit is neither guaranteed nor completely out of the question.
ASEAN members hold a special key to North Korea and they have continuously supported President Moon's Korean Peninsula peace drive.
Two ASEAN countries - Singapore and Vietnam - played host to summit talks between leaders of North Korea and the U.S. and the ASEAN Regional Forum exists as the only security dialogue that includes North Korea.
The hopeful message came as South Korea launched the one-time ASEAN-Korea Train from Seoul to Busan to celebrate the 30 years of bilateral friendship.
"Taking the train from Seoul Station, the 200 guests from Korea and ASEAN nations travelled here, to the southeastern city of Busan, the host city for this special summit -- the largest international event under the Moon Jae-in administration."
With the hosting of the South Korea-ASEAN Special Summit back in 2014, and other international conferences including the 2005 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit under its belt, Busan is confident it will successfully host the South Korea-ASEAN Special Summit 2019 and step forward as a major pillar of Asia's economy.
Park Hee-jun, Arirang News, Busan.