Bangkok (VNA) – The 21st ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting (AEMM) opened in Bangkok, Thailand on October 14, seeking to strengthen the two sides’ cooperation across the board and work towards strategic partnership.

The meeting was co-chaired by Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission.

It brought together 40 delegations from ASEAN and EU member countries, and ASEAN General Secretary Le Luong Minh. Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung led a Vietnamese delegation to the event.

Delegates will touch upon important issues in the region and the globe and seek to elevate ASEAN-EU cooperation to strategic partnership. They will discuss preparations for the 40th anniversary of their ties in 2017.

A Bangkok statement and a Bangkok roadmap to promoting ASEAN-EU relations to strategic partnership in 2016-2017 are scheduled to be adopted.

ASEAN and the EU normalised their ties in 1977 and their trade currently reached 227 billion USD.

EU member countries have poured 19.7 billion USD into the ASEAN member countries and seen 9.3 million of their nationals travelling to these countries since 2014.

The EU is currently the third largest trade partner, the leading investor and the second biggest supplier of tourists of ASEAN.

Held biennially, AEMM provides a platform for senior officials to seek measures to improve the two sides’ relations and talk regional and global issues.-VNA