ASEAN and the ASEAN-led architecture are central to Australia’s positive vision for an inclusive, resilient and open Indo-Pacific.
This week, I will participate by videoconference in the ASEAN-Australia Post Ministerial Conference, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
Our partnership with ASEAN is vital as we deal together with the health and economic challenges brought on by COVID-19. As we continue to chart a path out of the pandemic, it is crucial that recovery is guided by principles set out in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, including ASEAN centrality, transparency, inclusivity, good governance and respect for international law.
I will update our ASEAN partners on the implementation of Australia’s support to Southeast Asia on COVID-19 recovery, including implementation of the $500 million package of new economic, and security and development initiatives announced at the 2020 ASEAN-Australia Summit.
I will outline Australia’s support in increasing access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in Southeast Asia. Australia is delivering this vital support through sharing vaccine doses as well as a $300 million commitment under our Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative, which includes a $21 million contribution to the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases. We are also providing $100 million through the Quad Vaccine Partnership.
Southeast Asia’s ability to rebound from the pandemic will be critical for Australia’s economic recovery. In 2019-20, ASEAN accounted for $113.7 billion in two-way trade, and over $259 billion in two-way investment.
I look forward to discussing key regional security issues, including the South China Sea, Hong Kong, the Korean Peninsula, counter-terrorism and cyber.
I will raise Australia’s grave concerns about the crisis in Myanmar, including the evolving humanitarian situation. We remain committed to supporting ASEAN’s role on Myanmar and continue to urge the full and timely implementation of ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus, including the immediate appointment of a Special Envoy on Myanmar. I will continue to call on the military regime to cease violence and immediately release all those arbitrarily detained, including Australian Professor Sean Turnell.