In the last few years, to increase its involvement and cooperation with nations in the region, the Republic of Korea (ROK) has been vigorously pursuing its Indo-Pacific Strategy and other initiatives.

Through a number of initiatives and alliances, this strategic approach seeks to promote freedom, peace, prosperity, and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The Korea-ASEAN Solidarity Initiative (KASI), which aims to develop bilateral ties between the ROK and ASEAN, is one of the main elements of the ROK’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

The Indo-Pacific region holds immense economic potential and strategic significance, making it a focal point for many nations, including the ROK. As a major global economic player, the ROK seeks to expand its presence and influence in this region by actively participating in economic, political, and security affairs. By doing so, the ROK aims to contribute to regional development and create a prosperous and interconnected Indo-Pacific community.

KASI, a crucial component of the ROK’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, provides a framework for fostering collaboration between the ROK and ASEAN members. The ROK wants to improve people-to-people connections with ASEAN nations through KASI while also promoting cultural exchanges and strengthening commercial links. This programme not only benefits the ROK but also presents many chances for Cambodia and other ASEAN members to advance their own development objectives.

As an ASEAN member, Cambodia stands ready to join this initiative and gain a lot from the growth and collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region. Due to its advantageous location in the middle of Southeast Asia’s continental territory, Cambodia acts as a bridge between the region’s landlocked nations and the maritime economy of the Indo-Pacific. With this situation, Cambodia has the chance to improve its infrastructure, connectivity, and economic integration.

The Indo-Pacific Strategy of the ROK has received the support of Cambodia through a number of initiatives and engagements. Cambodia’s active involvement in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), where debates on regional security and cooperation take place, is one notable example. Cambodia has expressed its support for the ROK’s initiatives to advance a free, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region as an ARF member.

Additionally, Cambodia has stressed the necessity of increased maritime security and collaboration in the Indo-Pacific. The kingdom understands the need of a stable and safe marine environment for economic development and trade facilitation given its own coastal regions and maritime interests. Cambodia wants to help maintain peace and stability in the region by backing the ROK’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

Cambodia and the ROK might examine numerous possibilities for cooperation in a variety of fields. Joint projects in business and investment, infrastructure improvement, travel, and cultural exchanges may fall under this category. Both countries can build beneficial alliances that will aid in the general growth of the Indo-Pacific region by utilizing one another’s assets and strengths.

In order to achieve this noble vision for a free, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, all related parties in the strategies namely ROK, ASEAN and Cambodia should consider the following factors:

Continuing dialogue and consultations: ROK, ASEAN, and Cambodia should create regular and substantive dialogue to discuss and address shared challenges, opportunities, and cooperation areas. This will promote a spirit of cooperation and stimulate the development of trust and understanding.

Promoting economic integration and trade alliances: For the Indo-Pacific strategy and KASI to be successful, it is essential to strengthen economic integration and trade alliances. Through programmes, including free trade agreements, business conferences, and joint ventures, ROK can look into potential for expanded trade and investment with ASEAN nations, including Cambodia.

Working together on infrastructure development: An important part of the Indo-Pacific strategy is infrastructure development. To expand and improve infrastructure projects like transportation networks, energy facilities, and digital connections, ROK can engage with ASEAN nations like Cambodia. This will improve trade, enable regional connections, and foster economic development.

Strengthening collaboration in strategic areas: Determine critical areas where the experience of the ROK may significantly advance ASEAN and Cambodia’s development. This might apply to industries including technology, clean energy, agriculture, medicine, and tourism. Promoting cooperation and knowledge exchange in these industries will result in sustained development and advantages for all parties involved.

Supporting capacity-building initiatives: ROK can help ASEAN and Cambodian capacity-building initiatives. This might entail exchanging best practices, offering technical instruction, and promoting the transfer of knowledge in fields like governance, education, healthcare, and disaster management. Building capacities will help ASEAN and Cambodia effectively handle new challenges.

Promoting people-centered development: When implementing the Indo-Pacific strategy and KASI, it is crucial to give priority to people-centered development. Initiations should be directed toward enhancing the standard of living for ASEAN and Cambodian citizens, fostering inclusivity, and reducing socioeconomic imbalances, according to ROK. This will increase support for the programmes and aid in their long-term viability.

Given the bright future, it is crucial to promote and aid the alliance between the ROK, ASEAN, and Cambodia. To maximize the advantages of this relationship, governments, corporations, and civil society organizations should actively look for possibilities for collaboration. They should also make use of each party’s resources and strong points.

Overall, ROK, ASEAN, and Cambodia have enormous potential for mutually beneficial cooperation. All parties can help to promote regional development, economic progress, and long-lasting relationships by cooperating and building on each other’s capabilities. Such alliances will enable the Indo-Pacific region to grow and stand as a beacon of stability and prosperity for many years to come.

Dr. Seun Sam is a researcher of the Royal Academy of Cambodia.

The views expressed in this article are his own.