Australia, ASEAN enhance maritime security cooperation

(VOVWORLD) - Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Monday announced 42 million USD in funding to help ASEAN member countries strengthen maritime security. 

Australia and ASEAN are holding a special summit in Melbourne to celebrate 50 years since Australia became ASEAN’s first Dialogue Partner.

Ms. Wong said in her address to a forum on maritime cooperation that the money will be allocated over the next four years, including 26 million USD in new funding to enhance Australia's Southeast Asia Maritime Partnerships. The rest will support the maritime priorities of ASEAN countries.

Ms. Wong said that amid the tense geopolitical polarities and conflicts around the world, cooperation between Australia and ASEAN is vital in maintaining a peaceful, stable environment in Asia-Pacific.

“We know that a major conflict in our region would be devastating to our communities and economies, as the terrible conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine have shown. So we all have a responsibility to shape the region we want, the peaceful, stable and prosperous region we want to share, a region in balance where each country can pursue its own aspirations,” said Ms. Wong.

A special summit themed “A Partnership for the Future” opened on Monday in Melbourne to mark the 50-year relationship between Australia and ASEAN. It will run through Wednesday.

Leaders of Australia and ASEAN will discuss measures to boost ASEAN-Australia cooperation, the vision of both sides for the region’s future, and ways to address shared challenges.