President Marcos Jr. Supports Australia’s Inclusion in ASEAN

This handout taken and released on March 6, 2024 by the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2024 shows Laos' Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone (L) and Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (R) arriving to deliver the final statement after the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2024 in Melbourne. Andrew TAYLOR / ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2024 / AFP
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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed his support for Australia’s inclusion in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The suggestion for Australia’s entry into ASEAN was made by Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ebrahim. President Marcos shared his thoughts on the matter during a press conference in Melbourne, stating, “Well, I cannot see why that would not be a good idea. Australia has already been a very active part of ASEAN. And for all intents and purposes, really, in all but name, they are already members of ASEAN. Yes, I think they would be very welcome to join ASEAN.”

Australia recently hosted the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of relations between the two parties. As ASEAN’s first dialogue partner since 1974, Australia considers ASEAN as its key trading partner. The projected trade between Australia and the regional bloc is expected to reach $400 billion by 2040, a significant increase from the $178 billion recorded in 2022.

ASEAN’s current membership includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Additionally, Timor Leste has been admitted “in principle” as ASEAN’s 11th member, with full membership pending.

Established on August 8, 1967, in Bangkok, Thailand, ASEAN was formed with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration, also known as the Bangkok Declaration.

Australia’s inclusion in ASEAN would bring numerous benefits to both parties. Australia’s active participation in ASEAN activities and its strong trade relations with the regional bloc make it a natural fit for membership. The ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, hosted by Australia, further solidified the strong ties between the two entities.

In terms of trade, Australia’s partnership with ASEAN has been growing steadily over the years. The projected increase in trade volume to $400 billion by 2040 demonstrates the potential for further economic cooperation. This growth will undoubtedly benefit both Australia and ASEAN member countries, fostering economic development and creating new opportunities for businesses and individuals.

Furthermore, Australia’s inclusion in ASEAN would enhance the regional bloc’s influence on the global stage. With Australia’s strategic location and its status as a developed nation, its membership would strengthen ASEAN’s position in international affairs. Australia’s diplomatic expertise and experience would contribute to ASEAN’s efforts in promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.

While Australia is not currently a formal member of ASEAN, its active participation in ASEAN activities and its strong trade partnership with the regional bloc have already made it an integral part of the ASEAN community. The support expressed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. further reinforces the idea that Australia would be a valuable addition to ASEAN.

In conclusion, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s support for Australia’s inclusion in ASEAN highlights the recognition of Australia’s active participation and significant contributions to the regional bloc. Australia’s strong trade relations with ASEAN member countries and its hosting of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit demonstrate the mutual benefits of closer integration. Australia’s inclusion in ASEAN would not only enhance economic cooperation but also strengthen ASEAN’s influence on the global stage.

Source: The Manila Times

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