BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Erywan Mohd Yusof met with his United Kingdom (UK) counterpart Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during the Group of Seven (G7) Foreign and Development Ministers’ meeting in London on Thursday (May 6).
This was the first time that a representative from Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) was invited to attend a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting.
The UK’s invitation to the Asean Chair to attend the G7 meeting signals the UK’s emphasis on a closer alignment with the Indo-Pacific region, as outlined in the UK’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy published in March.
The meeting between the two foreign ministers was the first since Asean leaders agreed to accept the UK’s application for Dialogue Partner status at their meeting in Jakarta on April 24.
The leaders tasked the Asean Foreign Ministers to start work to formalise the UK becoming a Dialogue Partner by the 54th Asean Ministerial Meeting in August this year.
The UK’s application for Dialogue Partner status recognises the UK’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.
During yesterday’s talks, both ministers agreed to build deeper UK-Asean trade links and security cooperation, while working together to address challenges such as climate change and Covid-19 recovery.
Speaking after the meeting, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “Thank you Asean leaders for accepting the UK’s application for Dialogue Partner status. We look forward to even closer cooperation on trade, climate and regional security issues.
“During the meeting we also discussed the ongoing situation in Myanmar. I underlined the UK’s steadfast opposition to the military coup and the important role Asean can play based on the principles of its Charter.
“I look forward to strengthening our commitment to the Asean region even further in the coming years.”
Other key topics covered during the talks included how best to increase G7 and Asean ambition on climate targets ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow later this year.
This G7 Foreign Ministers summit is the first in-person summit since the pandemic and the first to be hosted at a Covid-secure venue.
The protocols in place involve staff and delegates required to complete daily Covid-19 tests before entering any of the venues. - Borneo Bulletin/Asia News Network