By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Seoul

SEOUL, 28 February 2017?Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Raul S. Hernandez, Council Director of the Philippines, concluded his successful chairmanship of the ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) Council during the 10th Annual Meeting of the AKC which was held on 26 to 27 February 2018 at the Paradise Hotel in Busan, South Korea.

PH Ambassador to South Korea Raul S. Hernandez (6th from left), outgoing Chair of the 10th Annual Council Meeting of the ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC), joins AKC Secretary General Kim Young-sun (5th from left); Mr. Gerard Ho, the current Council Chair and Council Director of Singapore (4th from left); Director General Ryu Jeong-hyun of MOFA's South Asian and Pacific Affairs and ROK's Council Director (6th from right); and other Council Directors of the ASEAN Member States for a group photo. Photo Credit: ASEAN-Korea Centre
Amb. Hernandez, before turning over the Chairmanship of the AKC Council to Mr. Gerard Ho, Council Director of Singapore, conveyed his appreciation to the other Council Directors for their hard work and to AKC Secretary General, Amb. Kim Young-sun, for his able leadership. He also congratulated the AKC for successfully implementing the programs for FY2017, all of which were pursued in support of AKC's vision of building a lasting and genuine partnership between ASEAN and Korea.

In his opening remarks, Amb. Hernandez also outlined the achievements of the AKC during his term as Council Chair. For FY2017, Amb. Hernandez reported that the AKC was able to organize a total of 20 programs, comprised of 47 projects, under the Chapters of Trade and Investment, Culture and Tourism, and Public Relations and Information Services. Some of these projects included the celebration of the Month of ASEAN in May, the ASEAN Culinary Festival in June, the ASEAN-Korea Youth Network Workshop in July, the International Conference on ASEAN-Korea Partnership in August, the ASEAN Trade Fair in October, and the ASEAN Connectivity Forum in November.

All these programs were organized and pursued in accordance with the three main directions the AKC set for FY2017, which included greater focus on Culture and Tourism programs; sustainable development; and strengthening of capacity-building element throughout its programs.

The Council Meeting also discussed and approved the AKC's Work Programs and Budget for FY2018. Under the collective theme titled "Connecting People, Sharing Prosperity," the AKC will be organizing projects under four specific focus areas which are: Prosperity and Industry 4.0; Sustainable Development; People-Centered Community-Building; and People-to-People Exchange.

ROK's Council Director and Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Director General for South Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau Ryu Jeong-hyun also took the opportunity to brief the Council Directors of President Moon Jae-in's New Southern Policy. According to DG Ryu, the New Southern Policy aims to bring Korea's partnership with ASEAN to the highest level. In line with this new policy, the AKC is expected to play a more central role in strengthening the partnership between ASEAN and Korea in the coming years.

The Council Directors also expressed its collective appreciation to Sec. Gen. Kim, who will be ending his term in March 2018, for his dedication and leadership in bringing the AKC to another level during his term as the Secretary General of the AKC. Amb. Lee Hyuk, former Ambassador of Korea to the Philippines (2012) and Vietnam (2016), will replace Sec. Gen. Kim.

The AKC Council is the Centre's highest-decision making body. It is made up of directors appointed by the 10 ASEAN member states (AMS) and Korea. The AKC is a Seoul-based intergovernmental institution established by the AMS and Korea in 2009 in order to increase trade volume, accelerate investment flows, invigorate tourism, and enrich cultural exchanges between ASEAN and Korea.

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