Seoul, South Korea – With just a few breaths away from the materialization of the regional integration, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been receiving a lot of attention from the global community. The Republic of Korea (ROK), in particular, has been engaging in continuously growing dialogue relations with the ASEAN and commits to the desire of youth development in promoting better cooperation in the future.
Youth Push Greater Regional Cooperation at the ASEAN-Korea Frontier Forum, Philippine Team Bags Grand Prize
STRONG RELATIONSHIP. ROK and the ASEAN states are important strategic partners with shared political, economic, and socio-cultural interests. Photo by Asia Exchange Association
The 4th ASEAN-Korea Frontier Forum (AKFF), which was held last 14-21 February 2014 at Seoul, Korea, is one of the programs in ROK which aims to further strengthen cooperation among youths in ASEAN and ROK in the hopes of improving the relations to a deeper and more strategic level. This year’s forum was hosted by the Asia Exchange Association (AEA), through the support of ROK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ASEAN. The main purpose of the week-long event is to gather the young leaders of ASEAN and ROK to talk about the role of youth in forging the ASEAN-ROK dialogue relations in the areas of economic cooperation, human rights, and peace and security.
As part of the international programs of the National Youth Commission (NYC), three Filipinos were selected to represent the country in this event. Focusing on their respective areas of interests, Ariane Coronel (National Youth Commission), Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay (University of the Philippines Diliman), and Ivy Jane Torregosa (Ateneo de Davao University), joined the other delegates to discuss the different challenges confronting the region. Sin Young Park, Hyun Jung Kwon, and Jisoo Kim who were guest participants from ROK joined the Philippine team during the entire forum. In addition to the day-to-day activities done during the forum such as cultural trips, city tour, and committee meetings, the main highlight of the program is the Model ASEAN-ROK Summit where the young participants can share their insights and recommendations in the form of policy resolutions.
Strengthening the ASEAN-ROK ties
COOPERATION. The program aims to foster key cooperative measures in the areas of economy, human rights, as well as peace and security. Photo by Asia Exchange Association
In the area of economic cooperation, Ivy Jane Torregosa, who served as the main sponsor of the economic committee’s resolution, said that university students and young professionals from ASEAN and ROK had the chance to discuss among themselves the future of economic ties between ASEAN and ROK, mainly revolving around the idea of making a single market and production base for the ASEAN region. Working under the framework of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), an interesting key recommendation that emerged from the discussions of the young participants was the institutionalization of an ASEAN-ROK cooperative development bank which “establishes well-coordinated and globally recognized economic and financial monitory system.”
Yong Hee Kim, economic committee chairperson, noted that “even though the final resolution has lack of depth and professional view, this kind of trying and debating among young people will insure the bright future of our partnership.”
Meanwhile, Ariane Coronel, awarded as the best speaker in the human rights committee looked into the importance of creating institutional mechanisms that will protect the rights of the migrants in the ASEAN region. The human rights resolution ensures certain general measures that can provide safety nets for the labor migrants, especially women and children.
Human rights committee chairperson Byung-ho Anderson Park noted that the most effective way of confronting the human rights issues is through bottom-up approaches, engaging the people from the ground to come up with a common perspective on the importance of human rights. Park added that the ASEAN-ROK framework on promoting human rights should be based on co-understanding of human rights and cooperation.
Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay, who also served as the main sponsor of the peace and security committee’s final resolution, worked with the other delegates to discuss the need to place structural reforms to address the problem of transnational crimes such as illicit drugs, human trafficking, and illegal trade of small and light weapons. The exchange of practical views among the young delegates resulted to a set of recommendations that emphasized the importance of harmonizing the legal standards in the region as well as the essential role of technological instruments in combating transnational crimes.
Peace and security chairperson, Seung Jin Lee, mentioned that much of the debates that took place emphasized the role of ROK in addressing the non-traditional dimension of security. The discussions that took place on this area showed that there are no high expectations among the ASEAN youths that the ROK will be playing a traditional military role in attaining security in the region.
Much of the discussion in the three committees point to the importance of dynamically engaging the civil society, business, and other important stakeholders in elevating the ASEAN-ROK relations at the institutional and strategic level.
Philippines on top
THE WINNING TEAM. Young leaders Inero Ancho, Ferth Manaysay, Sin Young Park, Ariane Coronel, Jisoo Kim, Hyun Jung Kwon, Ivy Torregosa, and Rex Pamplona show their positive outlook during the ASEAN-Korea Frontier Forum. Photo by Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay
Recognized for their excellent achievements during the AKFF, the organizers awarded the grand prize to the Team Philippines. Vietnam and Malaysia clinched the second and third prize respectively. Jin Lee, one of the AEA staffs, said that the active participation during the committee and regional meetings gave the Philippines an edge over the other participants.
“We are so grateful for the Asia Exchange Association for providing such an opportunity to network with the other delegates and share with them our ideas on how the youth can address the different issues confronting the region,” said Coronel. Despite the cultural diverse environment during the forum, Manaysay and Torregosa added that the young participants were able to reconcile their differences and come up with cooperative measures that will help in deepening the relations of ASEAN and ROK.
FILIPINO PRIDE. Elected as a proportional representative in ROK’s National Assembly in 2012, she is the first non-ethnic Korean and naturalized Korean to become a lawmaker. Photo by Asia Exchange Association
Filipino-born Jasmine Lee, recognized as the first naturalized Korean to join the ROK national assembly, was also invited to be one of the keynote speakers during the forum. Seeing the cultural diversity in the region, Jasmine Lee talked about the success of multiculturalism in ROK and emphasized how this could help in the ongoing dialogue relations with ASEAN. Meanwhile, Inero Ancho and Rex Pamplona, two Filipinos studying in South Korea were also selected by the organizers to join the ROK team.
Roderico Atienza, the First Secretary and Consul of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul also graced the event as one of the distinguished guests. Atienza said that this year’s AKFF coincides with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN-Korea dialogue relations. “I am very proud of Team Philippines, composed of three delegates from home and three guest delegates from Korea. They were able to work with impressive focus and consistency all throughout the eight-day event that they were able to make what was recognized as the most significant contributions to the Forum,” he added.
Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay is a Political Science student of the University of the Philippines. He was a Philippine participant at the 4th ASEAN-Korea Frontier Forum.
By Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay