Peace Palace, Phnom Penh
19 November 2012

President Benigno S. Aquino III joined leaders of ASEAN member states for the 15th ASEAN-Korea Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh. The meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was a review on the future direction of the ASEAN-ROK Dialogue Relations.

In a statement made by President Aquino, he urged ASEAN and the Republic of Korea to enhance efforts to combat trafficking in persons, particularly through enhanced information-sharing among border and police officials, as well as through capacity-building programs focused on ensuring that the rights of all, especially those of victims, are upheld.

He lauded and thanked the Republic of Korea for its efforts in ensuring the welfare of migrants such as funding the education and further training of foreign spouses and workers under the Employment Permit System.

“The relations between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea have become closely intertwined, so much so that our respective citizens regularly cross borders in pursuit of academic, economic, and other opportunities. The availability of several migration pathways requires us to take a closer look at national and regional mechanisms that will protect and promote the rights and welfare of our peoples, ensuring that they do not fall prey to the nefarious activities of human traffickers and smugglers,” he added.

President Aquino also expressed his concern over recent developments surrounding the nuclear programs of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He said that the Philippines supports the calls for Iran and the DPRK to abide by relevant UN resolutions, and allow regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the country has signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and staunchly supports global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

ASEAN and the Republic of Korea (ROK) initiated sectoral dialogue relations in November 1989. The ROK was accorded a full Dialogue Partner status by ASEAN at the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in July 1991 in Kuala Lumpur. Since the partnership was elevated to a summit level in 1997 in Kuala Lumpur, relations between ASEAN and the ROK have broadened and deepened.

ASEAN-ROK development cooperation projects and programmes have been implemented with funding from the ROK through the ASEAN-ROK Special Cooperation Fund (SCF) and Future Oriented Cooperation Project Fund (FOCPF).

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