UK is newest ASEAN Dialogue Partner

Published August 6, 2021, 1:20 PM

by Roy Mabasa

British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce has expressed his appreciation for the accession of the United Kingdom as the newest dialogue partner of the influential 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) specifically on the prospects that the partnership offers in the areas of trade, security, and people-to-people ties between the two sides.

British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce (Daniel Pruce / Twitter)

“I am immensely proud that the UK has been accepted as the first new ASEAN Dialogue Partner in 25 years. This will lead to more trade, better security cooperation and greater people-to-people links for the UK and ASEAN, alongside our strong and growing bilateral relationship with the Philippines,” Pruce said in a statement.

Pruce noted that the British partnership with the ASEAN is a “key step forward in the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt” and would serve to help the two sides work even more closely together on some of the key global challenges.

By becoming a dialogue partner, the UK will formalize its relations with the group – including attendance to the annual Foreign and Economic Ministers meetings along with other Ministerial engagements.

Dialogue partner status puts the UK at the heart of the Indo-Pacific as it is expected to work with ASEAN and its members on key shared challenges such as maritime security and transnational crime, boost economies through trade and strengthen cooperation on issues such as COVID-19 and climate change.

The UK official said the announcement comes at a time of growing UK defense and security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, as the UK’s Carrier Strike Group, led by the HMS Queen Elizabeth, is in the region and has completed a series of engagements with some ASEAN partners.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab joined a virtual ceremony with ASEAN foreign ministers Thursday where they welcomed the UK as an ASEAN ‘Dialogue Partner’.

Since the submission of its application to become a Dialogue Partner in June 2020, Foreign Secretary Raab has attended two UK-ASEAN Ministerial Meetings and hosted the ASEAN Chair at the G7 Foreign & Development Ministers meeting in May.

Raab said he is delighted that the UK has formally become a Dialogue Partner of the ASEAN bloc – the first new country in 25 years.

“This is a landmark moment in the UK’s tilt towards the Indo Pacific. Our closer ties with ASEAN will help create green jobs, reinforce our security cooperation, promote tech and science partnerships, and safeguard key pillars of international law like the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the top British diplomat said.

The other ASEAN Dialogue Partners are Australia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.