ASEAN promotes cooperation with Italy hinh anh 1Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Duong Hai Hung (fourth from the left) at the meeting with leaders of the Italy-ASEAN Association (Photo: VNA)

Rome (VNA) – Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Duong Hai Hung, Chairman of the ASEAN Committee in Rome (ACR), on February 20 chaired meetings with important partners in Italy to further promote relations between the bloc and the European country.

At a meeting with leaders of the Italy-ASEAN Association (IAA), including its president Romano Prodi, who is former Italian Prime Minister, the two sides looked back at notable developments in the cooperation between ASEAN and Italy since Italy became an ASEAN Development Partner in September 2020.

ASEAN countries' Ambassadors presented the priority of ASEAN in 2023 and made a number of proposals on the IAA's collaboration with and support for the ACR's activities in 2023.

Meanwhile, IAA leaders updated the ACR on progress of some cooperation projects that the association is participating in such as the Virtual Learning Centre for Italy and ASEAN on cultural heritage and sustainable development, the awards for outstanding thesis on ASEAN in 2023 and the Italy-ASEAN High-Level Dialogue slated to be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in October.

Prodi emphasised the growing importance of the ASEAN region in Italy's policy, saying ASEAN is not only a part of Asia, but has also become an essential factor for peace, security and prosperity in the region and in the world.

ASEAN's successful integration turns it into an important market for Italy with the presence of more than 600 Italian companies in the region, he said.

The same day, ACR had a working session with Manlio Di Stefano, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Italy and now senior advisor of Axiom Space, a privately funded space infrastructure developer headquartered in Houson, Texas. At the session, the ambassadors said ASEAN wants to expand international cooperation to strengthen its capacity and research and human resource training in the space sector.

In the context that many ASEAN countries are developing national space programmes, they highly appreciated the opportunities to meet and exchange with partners with strong space science and technology potential in the world in the exploration and exploitation of outer space for peaceful purposes./.