ASEAN, Canada seek ways to foster partnership

Wednesday, 2022-06-22 10:42:22
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Vietnamese Ambassador Vu Ho at the 19th ASEAN - Canada Dialogue (Photo: Bao Quoc te)
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NDO/VNA - Senior officials of ASEAN member countries and Canada sought ways to further foster their partnership at the 19th ASEAN - Canada Dialogue at the SOM head level which was held virtually on June 21.

Addressing the event, Assistant Foreign Minister and Head of SOM Canada Paul Thoppil affirmed that his country always attaches great importance to 45-year-ties with ASEAN, and underlined that ASEAN and the Southeast Asian region play a core role in the Indo-Pacific Strategy that Canada is going to announce. He said Canada hoped to engage deeper into regional cooperation through ASEAN-led mechanisms.

In order to celebrate the 45-year partnership between the two sides (1977-2022), Thoppil proposed organising an ASEAN-Canada Commemorative Summit in late 2022 in Cambodia and lift up their ties to a strategic partnership.

The ASEAN member countries lauded Canada’s cooperation and support to the association over the years, including a commitment of contributing 3.5 million CAD (2.7 million USD) in five years to the ASEAN Fund for COVID-19 Response, 2 million CAD (1.54 million USD) to the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management, and 8.5 million CAD (6.55 million USD) to the promotion of cooperation in implementing agenda related to women, peace and security. Canada has also announced 201 scholarships to ASEAN within the Canada-ASEAN Scholarships and Educational Exchanges for Development (SEED) programme for the 2022-2023 period.

Agreeing that the development potential of the bilateral partnership remains high, the ASEAN member countries and Canada concurred to continue to support each other to control and stamp out COVID-19, while increasing cooperation activities through the effective implementation of a joint action plan for the 2021-2025 period.

The two sides will strengthen trade and investment exchange, and step up negotiations on an ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement. They will collaborate in combating terrorism and trans-national crimes, while fostering ties in education, training, high-quality human resource development, climate change response, and narrowing development gaps.

Canada showed its willingness to continue expanding the bilateral cooperation to areas where both sides have strengths and demand to further bolster their partnership.

In the face of complicated regional and international developments, ASEAN and Canada emphasised the need to join hands to ensure a peaceful, secure and stable environment in the region, including security and safety of navigation in the regional seas, thus facilitating recovery, cooperation and development.

Canada affirmed its support for ASEAN's role and efforts in promoting dialogue, cooperation, and trust-building in the region as well as its principled stance on the East Sea/South China Sea issue, and attempts to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and build an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Head of SOM Canada expressed his concern about the current situation in Myanmar, and reaffirmed his support for ASEAN's efforts to promote dialogue and reconciliation in Myanmar as well as the bloc's assistance to the country to stabilise the situation soon.

Ambassador Vu Ho, acting Head of ASEAN SOM Vietnam, underlined that as each other’s important partner, ASEAN and Canada need to coordinate closely, effectively optimise their existing potential and take full advantage of all cooperation opportunities to lift up their relations to a new height.

He suggested both sides further deepen their partnership in current collaboration areas such as education, training, human resource development, health care and natural disaster management, while expanding their cooperation to new areas such as science-technology application, innovation, digital transformation, renewable energy, climate change response, and green growth, thus making contributions to the comprehensive and sustainable development of their partnership.

Ho reaffirmed ASEAN's consistent stance on the East Sea issue, which heightens international law, trust building, restraint, no militarisation, settlement of disputes through peaceful measures, and full and effective implementation of the DOC and building of an effective COC in line with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS, thus turning the East Sea into a sea of peace, cooperation and development.

According to a notification from Cambodia – Chair of ASEAN in 2022, the ASEAN-Canada Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) will be held on the occasion of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings in Phnom Penh from July 31 to August 6.