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Association of Southeast Asian Nations: Diplomatic Relations

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 94452, tabled on 16 December 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department has taken to further British diplomatic engagement with ASEAN countries.

Answered on

5 January 2022

On 5 August the UK became a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. This new partnership, the first ASEAN has agreed in 25 years, will lead to closer cooperation on issues like trade, science and technology, and education. We are pioneering high tech frontiers with a new Digital Innovation Partnership with ASEAN, underpinned by our Digital Trade Network. The UK is already a top 10 investor in ASEAN, supporting jobs across the region and providing room for UK companies to increase their presence. Our defence partnerships across the region are broad and longstanding, including British Forces Brunei and our membership of the Five Powers Defence Arrangements alongside Malaysia and Singapore. In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine doses bought with UK financing of COVAX, the UK has donated over 4.3 million doses directly to ASEAN members and seen 5.2 million of the doses donated through COVAX arrive in member states. At COP26, the UK announced £110 million to support clean infrastructure in ASEAN; this will help the region build back better from COVID-19.

ASEAN attended the G7 Foreign and Development Ministerial Meeting on 12 December at the UK's invitation. In November the Foreign Secretary visited Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to upgrade our economic and security ties. On 11 November, she met with the ASEAN Secretary General, and on 2 November she spoke to ASEAN Chair and Brunei Foreign Minister Erywan. In October I visited Singapore and the Philippines and engaged a range of interlocutors.

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