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For Korea, ASEAN has undoubtedly been a special and valued friend.Approximately 500,000 citizens of ASEAN member states now live and work in Korea, while roughly 300,000 Koreans live and work in ASEAN countries.This is one example of why Korea's ties with ASEAN are more than just intergovernmental relations. Korea and ASEAN share a common philosophy that values people, and that shared outlook will set the path that Korea and ASEAN take together in the years and decades ahead.I intend to help advance Korea-ASEAN relations while placing a high priority on the "people" – both Koreans and the people of ASEAN.To this end, and in commemoration of ASEAN's 50th anniversary, we have designated this year as "Korea-ASEAN Cultural Exchange Year," and actively promoted various cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The ACH is the first of its kind to be opened in an ASEAN dialogue partner country, and it is expected to serve as a hub for cultural and people-to-people exchanges between Korea and ASEAN members.Finally, I will endeavor to promote greater mutual prosperity, which benefits citizens of both ASEAN and Korea.
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