Mabini Dialogue Examines South Korea’s New Southern Policy

FSI Officer-in-Charge Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat (center) and UP KRC Senior Office Manager Kyung Min Bae (2nd from left) join the speakers and discussant of the Mabini Dialogue, Dr. Hyung Jong Kim (1st from left), Dr. Eun Hong Park (2nd from right), and Mr. Oliver John Quintana (1st from right).

Recent developments in ASEAN-Korea relations have been driven by their shared interest of maintaining regional peace, stability, and cooperation. With South Korea’s people-centered diplomacy under the New Southern Policy (NSP), the Philippines and ASEAN have emerged as South Korea’s crucial partners in advancing regional norms and mutual prosperity. 

This was the theme of the Mabini Dialogue on “South Korea’s New Southern Policy: Welcoming the Asian Tiger to ASEAN”, co-organized by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the University of the Philippines–Korea Research Center (UP KRC) on 29 November 2019 at the Carlos P. Romulo Library, Department of Foreign Affairs Building.

The forum was conducted in celebration of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and South Korea, and the 30th year of the ASEAN-Korea Dialogue Partnership.

The speakers were Dr. Hyung Jong Kim from Yonsei University, and Dr. Eun Hong Park from Sungkonghoe University, with Mr. Oliver John C. Quintana from the Ateneo de Manila University as the discussant.

Dr. Kim discussed the NSP’s normative implications for ASEAN-Korea cooperation. This partnership serves as a neutral platform to boost bilateral and multilateral collaboration in various sectors. The NSP provides an alternative path for South Korea to engage with ASEAN by converging principles and norms in light of external factors such as power competitions and economic interdependence among regional players. In its desire to achieve peace in the Korean Peninsula, ASEAN would also emerge as the center of an emerging East Asian community that can facilitate progress in inter-Korean relations.

Mr. Quintana expanded the discussion by elaborating on the various milestones in bilateral relations between the Philippines and South Korea. Throughout the past 70 years, the two countries have committed to deepen their partnership through collaboration in defense industry, official development assistance (ODA), tourism, and cultural exchanges. With South Korea’s positive image as a supportive middle power, the Philippines and its ASEAN neighbors can continue to build a vibrant regional community that promotes economic development and non-interference.

The Mabini Dialogue was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, DFA and FSI officers and staff, academe, and representatives of Korean communities in the Philippines.