ASEAN’s foreign ministers kicked off their one-on-one dialogue sessions with countries in the Asia-Pacific region on the second day of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.
These are called the ASEAN Plus One dialogues where ASEAN and the dialogue partner country take stock of the state of relations with both sides and try to bring the ties to even greater heights.
Singapore is chairing ASEAN’s dialogue with Canada which has been on track for the past 36 years, according to the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
The ASEAN-Canada cooperation is being implemented through the ASEAN-Canada Action Plan of Action to implement the enhanced partnership programme for the period 2010 to 2015.
During the ministerial meeting in 2012, Canada announced a contribution of around US$9.5 million for the next three years towards the ASEAN connectivity and integration projects.
Also meeting his ASEAN counterparts will be the new US Secretary of State, John Kerry who travels to Brunei amidst his busy schedule in brokering peace in the Middle East.
Mr Kerry is expected to update his ASEAN counterparts on his efforts in this area and also underscore the importance the United States places on its ties with ASEAN and its involvement in the East Asia Summit process.
In 2012, leaders of ASEAN and the US agreed to institutionalise their meeting into an annual “summit” level.
The meeting between the US President Barack Obama and his ASEAN leaders during the second ASEAN Summit was described as a “meeting”.
From 2013, this would be upgraded to a Summit and Brunei will host the 1st ASEAN-US Leaders’ Summit in October 2013.
As for the European Union (EU), the grouping continues to be ASEAN’s second largest trading partner and the biggest source of investment flow.
Figures released by the ASEAN Secretariat indicate that both total trade and imports from the EU have gone up over the years.
Discussions will also be held with the foreign ministers of Russia, India, New Zealand, and Australia.
Source : CNA | July 1, 2013