ASEAN leaders, Australia to discuss South China Sea dispute
18 March, 2018, 01:55 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak is confident that his two-day working visit to Australia will enhance the Asean-Australia and Malaysia-Australia bilateral relations. "The Australian government still accorded the highest honours to the Malaysian government", the prime minister told Malaysian media in Sydney.
He was there to attend a summit held by then US President Barack Obama with Asean leaders.
"God willing, the President will arrive this evening with his delegation and there will be a private agenda with the prime minister which is a dinner at the residence of the prime minister", Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said here on Friday.
After that the Australian Prime minister will accept leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) one by one and meet with New Colombo Plan scholarship recipients. "If we want to be effective in saving lives, it is essential that we have legislation that prevent acts of terrorism, rather than just deal with the aftermaths", he said.
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The session is scheduled to highlight opportunities for Asean and Canberra to work closer on areas of shared mutual interest, including tackling people smuggling and human trafficking, to strengthening maritime cooperation, to securing greater opportunities.
Bishop said South China Sea is one the most important trading routes of Australia that is why they are exercising freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight in the region.
Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, all of which are members of ASEAN, and Taiwan also have claims in the sea.
"There is a range of different perspectives and responses to this shift in the balance among different ASEAN countries".
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Aside from the South China Sea issue, counter-terrorism will also be a major focus during the summit.
Although several ASEAN countries already conduct joint exercises, other China-aligned member nations oppose such operations, making a consensus at the summit hard.
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