ASEAN and Australia have agreed to work together to elevate their dialogue relations as the two sides celebrate the 40th anniversary of their partnership this year.

This was highlighted during a meeting between the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to ASEAN with Australia ’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb in Canberra last week as part of the commemorative activities for the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Australia relations, according to a press release by the ASEAN Secretariat.

The two sides discussed and exchanged views on matters related to trade and investment cooperation, negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), tourism promotion, education, as well as peace and security issues, including developments in the East Sea .

Ministers Bishop and Robb laid special emphasis on the new Colombo Plan as a proof of Australia ’s strong commitment to strengthening people-to-people links and engagement with ASEAN.

Both sides also agreed that the ASEAN-Australia Commemorative Summit will be held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, in November will be an important opportunity for the leaders of both sides to launch a new era of Dialogue Relations, including the unveiling of the new 2015-2019 Plan of Action and an ASEAN-Australia Leaders’ Joint Statement that will chart the future directions of partnership in political, economic, people-to-people and socio-cultural fields.

During their visit to Melbourne , Canberra and Sydney from May 27 to June 1, the CPR members also met with officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, government officials and representatives from the business sector and cultural organisations in the States of Victoria and New South Wales .

Before proceeding to Australia, they attended the ASEAN-Australia Connectivity Workshop in Singapore on May 26, 2014, which was also part of the commemorative activities for the 40 th anniversary of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations.-VNA