Australia and ASEAN – Setting stronger foundations for Defence partnership

ASEAN sits at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region and plays a central role in regional security.

Its significance is increasing as the strategic environment in the region becomes more contested.

Since becoming ASEAN’s first dialogue partner in 1974, Australia has deepened its engagement across the board with this important institution.

Today I presented Australia’s vision for the future of our defence partnership at the inaugural ASEAN-Australia Informal Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam.

This meeting, which brought together Defence ministers and representatives from Australia and all ASEAN countries, demonstrates the growing strength and complexity of our defence engagement.

I reaffirmed Australia’s unwavering commitment to work with ASEAN and its Member States to support an open, inclusive and prosperous region, where the rights of all states are protected.

I also shared Australia’s 2020 Vision for targeted, mutually beneficial defence engagement that complements and reinforces the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

This Vision sets out key principles that underpin our cooperation across priority areas such as education and training, counter-terrorism, maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

In addition, I announced a package of new initiatives to build on Australia’s cooperation with ASEAN in the areas of peacekeeping and women, peace and security.

This package will reinforce regional peacekeeping cooperation and strengthen the role of women in our respective peacekeeping activities, recognising the important role women play in conflict prevention and resolution and supporting economic recovery and growth.

Australia looks forward to working closely this year with Vietnam, the current ASEAN chair, to help strengthen regional stability, prosperity and security.

Australia’s 2020 Vision for Defence engagement with ASEAN is available at: https://www.minister.defence.gov.au/minister/lreynolds/statements

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