Coordinator role can boost bilateral ties, says Hisham

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 -- Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein (left) with Senior Minister and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (second, left) following the closing ceremony of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits held virtually, today. - BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s position as the coordinator of Asean-Australia relations until 2021 can strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, including for discussions on creating a travel bubble in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said besides Covid-19 and vaccine-related matters, Malaysia and Australia could leverage on this good relationship for economic and educational cooperation.

“How can we be sure if the transmission of Covid-19 is more worrying (and) how can Australia and Malaysia find a way... everything will be seen in full with Australia, and we can help through our position as coordinator, ” he said during a press conference marking the conclusion of the virtual 37th Asean Summit yesterday.

He said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had expressed his appreciation to Malaysia after the summit received its proposal to host the Asean-Australia Summit annually – now held every two years – starting from 2021.

He said his Australian counterpart Marise Payne, whom he had worked with when they were both defence ministers, would ensure that bilateral ties be strengthened.

Australia became the first country to be chosen as Asean Dialogue Partner in 1974. The first Asean-Australia Special Summit was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in October 2010. – Bernama

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