SEOUL - Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Raul S. Hernandez, Council Director of the Philippines, was elected chair of the ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) Council for 2017 at the 9th Annual Council Meeting at Lotte Hotel in central Seoul from February 16 to 17.

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.

Ambassador Hernandez steered a crucial agreement with nine other Southeast Asian states and the Republic of Korea to make annual contributions to financing the rotational secondment of ASEAN officials to the AKC.

The Philippines guided the Council to a successful conclusion to contribute a specific amount in annual dues to finance the appointment of two heads and two deputy heads for the AKC's four functional units covering trade and investment, culture and tourism, information and data, development planning and general affairs starting in 2018.

"As my country's Ambassador to Korea, I have the both the pleasure and the privilege to represent the Philippines all year round in AKC's activities and events, together with my counterparts in all the ASEAN Embassies. The Centre's work remains an important measure by which we can gauge the standing of our dialogue partnership, now on its 28th year. By this yardstick, I would like to note with satisfaction the excellent progress in ASEAN-ROK relations in 2016 and look forward to similarly forward-looking cooperation in 2017.

This year as the Philippines takes on the chairmanship of the ASEAN under the theme" Partnering for change, engaging the world", we intend to highlight with your invaluable help ASEAN as a model of regionalism and a global player, with the interest of the people at its core. With this mind, I look forward to helping steer our sessions in the next two days to accomplish our primary task of conducting an in-depth review and discussion of the Centre's activities in FY2016, as well as the draft Annual Work Programs and Budget for FY2017, which were prepared by the Secretariat and evaluated by the Working Groups and the Executive Board," Ambassador Hernandez told the counterparts, many of whom came to Korea from their respective capitals for the two-day Meeting.

"The Centre's Secretariat and its staff have been working very hard with creative passion, implementing numerous programs all year round and making new plans for this important year. I have full confidence that our concerted efforts today, with our creative passion, will further deepen the partnership between ASEAN and Korea," AKC Secretary General Kim Young-sun said.

Source: Republic of Philippines Department Of Foreign Affairs