20 May 2019

Ministers meet ASEAN commissioners to forge defence ties

Representatives from ASEAN member states met with FCO ministers to forge trade and defence ties with the UK.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) representatives including Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field met with London Ambassadors and High Commissioners from ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) members to emphasise growing defence and trade links with the UK.  The UK is only a handful of European countries with an Embassy or High Commission in every member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

As part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s expanding diplomatic network and the UK’s commitment to forge a stronger relationship with ASEAN, a new and dedicated UK Mission is due to open in Jakarta later on this year. ASEAN member states include Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, The Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Mark Field, Minister for Asia and the Pacific, said: “UK-ASEAN trade is worth nearly £37 billion per year and our ever closer partnership will provide even more increased trading opportunities for British businesses after the UK leaves the EU. We also enjoy strong people-to-people connections through education and research collaboration and important security and defence co-operation with many ASEAN nations.”

“With a new, permanent British diplomatic mission in Jakarta specifically dedicated to growing our links with the ASEAN group set to open later this year, I look forward to our links with South East Asia growing even stronger after Brexit. As a P5 member, the world’s fifth largest economy, and a leading defender of the Rules Based International System, the UK looks forward to working together with this diverse, dynamic and quickly growing region.”

The government is aiming to collaborate on a number of issues including education, cybersecurity, defence, the digital economy, economic reform, the climate, and trade. The meeting was held ahead of the UK increasing presence in South East Asia through ASEAN, which connects countries in the region allowing for economic, political, and social cooperation.

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