Canadian expert highly values Vietnam as ASEAN Chair hinh anh 1Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh speaks at the ASEAN - Canada Ministerial Meeting (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has taken advantage of the opportunity as the ASEAN Chair to become a bridge promoting intra-ASEAN connection as well as links between the bloc with its dialogue partners, a Canadian expert has said.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, Jonathan Berkshire Miller, Director and co-founder of the Ottawa-based Council on International Policy, highly valued Vietnam's role in continuing to harmonise relations with China while striving to strengthen partnership within ASEAN and in the Indo-Pacific region as well.

Vietnam's principled and resolved leadership has made progress in settling thorny issues related to the East Sea, he stressed.

Miller, who is also a senior expert of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, highlighted Vietnam’s initiatives in changing the way it organises dialogues and important meetings during the year the country assumes its role as Chair of ASEAN when the COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the world and geopolitical tensions in the region are escalating.

Meanwhile, Luis Silva, a Canadian expert on government relations, expressed his optimism about the prospects of cooperation between ASEAN and Canada in the coming time.

In the context of the unpredictable developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government is working to reduce dependence on the Chinese market, and taking new measures to expand economic cooperation with other countries in East Asia, he said.

According to the expert, Canada and four ASEAN countries, namely Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei, are members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Canada and ASEAN are implementing a working plan under the Canada-ASEAN Joint Declaration on Trade and Investment, and considering the possibility of signing a free trade agreement, he said, noting that these show that both ASEAN and Canada want to deepen their cooperation.

The ASEAN-Canada dialogue partnership was established in 1977. In the framework of the ASEAN-Canada Ministerial Meeting held online on as part of the 53rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM 53), the two sides discussed concrete measures to strengthen cooperation in political, social and cultural pillars.

Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne affirmed that as a nation in the Pacific, Canada attaches great importance to its growing relationship with all ASEAN member nations, and that his country and ASEAN can join hands to solve global important issues and support peace and security, economic growth and sustainable development for all countries.

ASEAN is now Canada's sixth largest trading partner. Two-way trade between Canada and ASEAN reached 27.2 billion CAD (20.6 billion USD) in 2019. Investment and trade activities of Canada in Southeast Asia have not only increased sharply in volume, but also covered many areas, including oil and gas, mining, high technology, telecommunications, food processing, financial services, and aviation./.