The meeting reviewed the bilateral cooperation over the past year and discussed cooperation orientations in the coming time.
At the meeting, the two sides spoke highly of the cooperation results in all three pillars of political-security, economy and socio-culture.
In the 2017-2018 period, two-way trade between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia hit USD105 billion. Australia is currently the 7th biggest trade partner and 6th biggest foreign investor of ASEAN.
Australia has provided funds for a number of programmes, including the Australia-Asia Programme to Combat Trafficking in Persons (USD55 million), and the Shaping Inclusive Finance Transformations Programme (SHIFT) to support low income people and firms in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to the tune of USD6 million, among others.Delegates at the meeting (Photo: asean.org)
In educational cooperation, Australia has presented 1,175 awards to ASEAN citizens studying in the Oceania country. It is about to facilitate 18,500 Australian students to travel to ASEAN nations to enhance their understanding about the region.
Both sides noted that to date, up to 109 out of total 113 action lines in the 2015-2019 Plan of Action (PoA) to implement the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Partnership have been carried out, hitting 96 percent.
The two sides agreed to promptly implement the remaining lines in 2019, and join hands to complete the 2020-2024 PoA in a strategic and practical manner.
Australia reiterated its continued support for the ASEAN Community building efforts and realisation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, as well as attached importance to ASEAN’s central role in maintaining regional peace and stability.
On the occasion of the 45th founding anniversary of ASEAN-Australia relations, Australia announced an aid worth USD2 million for security cooperation and the launch of a programme titled “Australia Now-ASEAN 2019” to foster understanding and awareness of the relations between Australia and ASEAN countries.
ASEAN also highly evaluated the ASEAN-Australia strategic partnership, especially Australia’s assistance like the ASEAN–Australia Development Cooperation Programme Phase II, the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and the New Colombo Plan.
Both sides pledged to deepen the ASEAN-Australia strategic partnership and noted the importance of enhancing cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as maritime security, cyber security, digital trade standards, connectivity, smart city, development gap reduction, education, people-to-people exchanges, health, and disaster management./.