BOGOR, INDONESIA – South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday unveiled a new policy aimed at deepening ties with Southeast Asia, as the North Asian economic powerhouse seeks to curb its reliance on traditional trading partners like China and the United States.
Moon made Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, his first state visit to the region and was accompanied by a delegation of around 200 business leaders.
The “New Southern Policy” aims to better connect South Korea to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations grouping and expand the economic influence of Asia’s fourth-largest economy in the region home to more than half a billion people.
“Korean diplomacy in Asia has been more toward Japan, China and Russia. But I see that it should expand to new horizons,” Moon told a business forum in Jakarta, where he pledged to “dramatically strengthen cooperation with ASEAN.”
South Korea’s presidential Blue House has said the policy will mirror Moon’s “New Northern Policy” aimed at expanding cooperation with China, Japan, Russia, and Mongolia.
Indonesia and South Korea signed on Thursday a memorandum of understanding on a light rail transit system in Jakarta, part of a series of pacts reported to be worth up to $1.9 billion.