33rd ASEAN-Australia Forum opens hinh anh 1head of Vietnam's ASEAN SOM and Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The 33rd ASEAN-Australia Forum took place via videoconference on March 17, during which Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Justin Hayhurst reiterated the nation’s commitment to increasing cooperation with the bloc.

At the forum, Australia informed about the implementation of a 500 million AUD investment package announced by the Australian Prime Minister on the occasion of the ASEAN-Australia Summit in November last year to support a comprehensive recovery in the region. Also mentioned were its funding of 1 million AUD to the bloc’s Comprehensive Recovery Framework, 1 million AUD to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, and 21 million AUD to the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED).

ASEAN member states lauded Australia’s commitments and effective cooperation, as well as the couuntry's active engagements and support to ASEAN’s efforts to promote dialogues and sustain regional stability and prosperity, and response to emerging challenges.

ASEAN and Australia agreed to work together in implementing their Plan of Action for 2020 – 2024 with a focus on prioritised sectors like economy-trade-investment, anti-terrorism, anti-transnational-crime, education, environmental protection, climate change, and development gap narrowing, among others.

They affirmed to continue working closely together in contribution to maintaining peace and stability in the region, including security and stability in the East Sea.

Australia underscored its support to ASEAN’s principle stance, and the bloc's role in promoting dialogues and trust-building, ensuring the full implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and building a practical and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea in line with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Discussing recent developments in Myanmar, participating countries called for efforts to ease the situation and ensure people’s safety. They said they are ready to support Myanmar to strengthen dialogue and seek solutions to stabilise the situation and maintain its democratic process.

On regional economic cooperation, head of Vietnam's ASEAN SOM Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, on behalf of ASEAN member states, stressed that given complexities facing the regional economy, ASEAN and Australia should strive to maintain the momentum of regional economic linkages, coordinate an effective implementation of important agreements such as the agreement establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Their contributions to maintaining the market openness, stabilising supply chain connections, supporting businesses, and speeding up recovery are also important, he added./.