torsdag 28. oktober 2021

ASEAN, Australia elevate strategic ties amid South China Sea tensions

Indo-Pacific players Australia and ASEAN agreed to upgrade their ties to a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” the regional bloc’s chair said Wednesday, announcing the type of enhanced relationship with the grouping that China has been coveting since last year. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Australia elevated their relationship a month after some of the bloc’s members criticized the signing of the AUKUS pact, by which Washington and London will give Canberra technology for building nuclear-powered submarines.

Brunei, this year’s holder of ASEAN’s rotating chair, declared in a chairman’s statement that the two sides were now moving beyond a mere strategic relationship.“We agreed to establish a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between ASEAN and Australia that is meaningful, substantive and mutually beneficial,” the ASEAN chair said.

Australia and ASEAN first established a bilateral dialogue in 1974.  “We were pleased with the steady progress in enhancing ASEAN-Australia Dialogue relations over the past 47 years, including in the implementation of the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Partnership,” the ASEAN chair said.