Hanoi (VNA) - 2021 is considered an important time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Russia to review their achievements in cooperation and determine related goals in the time to come, towards further deepening the strategic partnership.

The two upgraded their relationship to the strategic partnership in November 2018.

At the 19th Meeting of the ASEAN-Russia Joint Cooperation Committee (ARJCC) held online, representatives from ASEAN member nations expressed their appreciation of the positive cooperation in bilateral relations.

Cooperation programmes and plans between ASEAN and Russia have contributed to supporting ASEAN in realising its goals in community building and narrowing the development gap.

The Russian side stressed that ASEAN is one of the top priorities in its diplomatic policy. It supports the bloc in building the ASEAN Community and in strengthening its central role in the regional structure, and actively joins ASEAN-led mechanisms, thus contributing to peace, stability, and security in the region.

The two sides also highly valued the activities of the ASEAN Centre at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), which contribute to promoting scientific cooperation between universities and research centres and promoting people-to-people exchanges between citizens of Russia and ASEAN.

In the context of COVID-19, the two sides also committed to promoting joint efforts to overcome the effects of the pandemic and stabilise their economies.

ASEAN and Russia agreed to further strengthen the strategic partnership, focusing on areas of mutual interest, such as politics, security, disaster management, technology and innovation, tourism, and the prevention of infectious diseases.

Russia has also increased coordination with ASEAN member countries at major international forums, including the UN, on urgent global and regional issues, such as arms control, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism prevention, international information security, and combating drug trafficking and transnational crime.

Russian authorities are assisting ASEAN’s special security and law protection agencies in personnel training and organising professional training courses to fight terrorism and extremism.

On the occasion of the 30th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties and 25 years of dialogue relations in 2021, ASEAN and Russia wish to further deepen the strategic partnership, thus helping both overcome difficulties posed by COVID-19 and recover economic development./.