Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Luong Thanh Nghi (R) and Attorney General George Brandis (Source: VNA)
Canberra (VNA) – Australia always respects ASEAN’s central role which is crucial to encouraging a law-based order in the East Sea, following the recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration of The Hague, said Attorney General George Brandis.

Addressing a ceremony in Canberra, Australia on September 15 marking the 49 th founding anniversary of ASEAN, Brandis said as the longest standing dialogue partner of the bloc, Australia always makes efforts for ASEAN’s success.

He recalled Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s remarks at the recent ASEAN-Australia Summit in Laos that the two sides are close partners by geography and by choice.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Luong Thanh Nghi, who is also Chairman of the ASEAN Committee in Canberra, said the ASEAN-Australia strategic partnership is the foundation for their stronger cooperation in trade, security, education and disaster mitigation.

He acknowledged the development of the partnership, particularly the first ASEAN-Australia Summit organised in Laos earlier this month. The summit, which is scheduled to be held biennially, will afford ASEAN and Australian leaders a chance to discuss ways of ensuring security, safety and prosperity in the region.

Forty-two years since the two sides formed their bilateral dialogue partnership, ASEAN has become the second largest trade partner of Australia while the country is the eighth largest trade partner of the bloc. Two-way trade last year neared 74.68 billion USD and two-way investment rose 12 percent to more than 169.93 billion USD.

Australia welcomed over 123,000 students and 1.2 million tourists from ASEAN while more than 2.8 million Australians visited ASEAN countries last year.

Participants at the ceremony expressed their belief that the ASEAN-Australia strategic partnership would continue to thrive, benefiting peace, stability and prosperity in the region.-VNA