On Thursday 13th January 2022, the Asian Vision Institute (AVI), in collaboration with the Embassy of Australia, organised a round table discussion on “Australia’s new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with ASEAN and Its Implication for Cambodia’s ASEAN Chairmanship” at AVI’s office. The event was participated by H.E. Mr. Will Nankervis, Ambassador of Australia to ASEAN, H.E. Mr. Pablo Kang Ambassador of Australia to Cambodia, H.E. Yara Suos, Chairman of the Commission on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Media and Information, officials from the Australian Embassy, and representatives from the National Assembly, the Senate, think tanks, and academia.
The panellists and participants discussed engagingly about the cooperation between ASEAN and Australia in such areas as human resource development, COVID-19 pandemic recovery, geopolitical rivalries between superpowers, and Australia’s support for ASEAN integration. Australia is one of the most trusted partners, as well as one of the biggest trading and investment partners to ASEAN. As Australia and ASEAN have advanced the cooperation into Comprehensive and Strategic Partnership (CSP), Australia expands cooperation in several other areas, namely trade, agriculture, cybersecurity, and digital transformation. The new CSP will provide a framework for cooperation, including under the Mekong-Australia Partnership, in climate change response and mitigation, water and energy security, and SME development and linkages.
The discussion also took note the importance of ASEAN centrality and the important role of ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific region. Australia is committed to supporting the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and strengthening the cooperation with ASEAN. The initiatives of QUAD and AUKUS will be complementary to the ASEAN agendas and ASEAN centrality. On the political development in Myanmar, Australia strongly supports ASEAN approach to reviving peace and maintaining stability in the country based on the 5 Point Consensus (5PC) which was adopted in Jakarta last year by all ASEAN member states.
In conclusion, the event produced successful and fruitful outcomes. It discussed and synergised various perspectives from different stakeholders, rolling out practical policy recommendations for Australia and ASEAN including Cambodia, as the ASEAN Chair in 2022, to further enhance the CSP and cooperation, thereby promoting peace, stability and sustainable development in the region and beyond.