Australia commits to stronger cooperation with ASEAN

Thursday, 2018-11-15 10:26:47
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (fifth, left), Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (fourth, left) and other ASEAN leaders at the informal breakfast summit on November 14. (Photo: VNA)
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NDO/VNA – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc joined other ASEAN leaders and Australian PM Scott Morrison at an informal working breakfast in Singapore on November 14.

At the event, part of the ongoing 33rd ASEAN and other related summits, the leaders lauded the success of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney last March.

They pledged to further enhance cooperation in priority fields such as cyber security, the fight against human trafficking, marine security, defence, economy, climate change response, disaster management, infrastructure, and the Mekong sub-region. They also committed to promoting trade and investment ties, effectively making use of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), and working towards the early finalisation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

PM Morrison stressed the importance of the ASEAN-Australia strategic partnership to peace, stability, and prosperity in the region, voicing his support for the bloc’s central role in an open, transparent, and rule-based regional architecture.

He also expressed his support for ASEAN’s stance on maintaining peace, stability, security, and safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea; peacefully settling disputes on the basis of international law; fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC); and making efforts to build an effective Code of Conduct (COC) in the waters.

Regarding its cooperation with the ASEAN, he affirmed Australia’s commitment to fostering collaboration in coping with traditional and non-traditional security challenges; increasing trade and investment; developing micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises; capitalising on the AANZFTA; and stepping up educational and people-to-people exchange, along with infrastructure connectivity and sustainable development in the region.

Morrison said the hundreds of thousands of ASEAN students in his country, as well as the many Australian students learning in ASEAN countries under the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Programme are valuable bridges helping to connect the cultures and peoples involved.

At the session, PM Phuc spoke highly of Australia’s role in and contributions to the region, welcoming the country’s effective support and assistance for the grouping.

Australia is a long-term and trustworthy partner of ASEAN. Both sides share common visions and interests in peace, stability, and cooperation for the development of the region, he noted.

The PM also welcomed Australia’s continued endorsement of ASEAN’s central role and joint efforts to promote an open, transparent, and rule-based regional architecture.

Vietnam hopes that Australia will also continue bolstering connections with ASEAN in the fields matching its strength and the bloc’s demand, including infrastructure development, regional connectivity, climate change response, sustainable use of natural resources in the Mekong sub-region, and human resources development, he added.

PM Phuc also expressed his hope for Australia’s continued support of ASEAN’s efforts and stance on dialogue and trust building promotion; respect for international law and common standards of conduct; peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; non-militarisation and refrain from actions that could complicate the situation; and full implementation of the DOC and building of an effective and substantive COC.