1 July 2013 - Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario today said that next year's ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit to celebrate 40 years of dialogue relations will be an opportunity to explore new strategic directions and cooperative agenda for the two sides.
"Next year, our partnership, which was the first that ASEAN had established with an external party, will celebrate its 40th year with an ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit at the margins of the East Asia Summit in Myanmar," Secretary del Rosario said at the ASEAN-Australia Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.
Secretary del Rosario co-chaired with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr the annual PMC with Australia, ASEAN's oldest Dialogue Partner.
Secretary del Rosario added that "as partners and neighbors, ASEAN and Australia mutually long for a safe and stable region favorable to sustaining economic growth. Both want to engage in robust trade and commerce. Both desire that their contiguous seas and airspace bustle with two-way traffic of goods, people and services."
The Foreign Secretary said that as part of the commemorative celebrations next year, ASEAN and Australia will craft a Plan of Action (POA) for 2014-2018 that will bring in more opportunities to cooperate in areas mutually beneficial to both sides, such as maritime cooperation, maritime connectivity, trafficking in persons and biodiversity. The POA is expected to be unveiled at the Commemorative Summit.
The PMC agreed to strengthen maritime security cooperation between ASEAN and Australia and took note of Australia's proposal to convene the 2nd ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Seminar on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in early 2014 with the Philippines as co-chair.
It also recognised Australia's support to the ARF's various priority areas, including counter-terrorism and transnational crime, disaster relief, maritime security, non-proliferation and disarmament, cyber security, space security and preventive diplomacy. Australia, Japan and the Philippines co-chaired the 5th ARF's Intersessional Meeting on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament in Makati City on 4 and 5 June 2013.
Secretary del Rosario added that ASEAN welcomes the recent appointment of H.E. Simon Philip Merrifield as Australia's first resident Ambassador to ASEAN in Jakarta.
"His presence in Jakarta will no doubt help further elevate ASEAN-Australia partnership to new heights," the Secretary said. END