Counter-terrorism, cybersecurity and disaster management – these are the key priorities that ASEAN wants to emphasise in its cooperation with Russia. According to Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi, more than 60% of the goals set 2016 by the comprehensive 4-year plan of cooperation between Moscow and the 10 Southeast Asian nations, have been already achieved, and her country, which is currently the chair and coordinator of the Russia-dialogue, wants to strengthen this bond even further.
Last year year Russia received a strategic ASEAN partnership status. The country is also part of the broader East Asia Summit. That, and the establishment of Russia’s permanent mission to ASEAN in Jakarta 2 years ago, are signs of growing mutual trust. pic.twitter.com/hKfPZo4Gy2— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) July 31, 2019
The chief Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov took part in several ASEAN-related events in Bangkok during the organisation's 52nd Foreign ministers’ meeting. He held negotiations with his Vietnamese, Malaysian and Thai colleagues, as well as with top diplomats from other countries.
Russia has invited Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to attend the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, which will be held in September 2019. Lavrov discussed the details with his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah.
The host nation of this year’s ASEAN event also enjoys close ties with Moscow. Sergey Lavrov spent the first day of his visit to Bangkok talking to his Thai colleague Don Pramudwinai at the country’s foreign ministry headquarters.
Key areas of mutual interest for the two countries are energy and infrastructure projects, agriculture, tourism and transportation.
Sometimes the essence of negotiations can be summed up when the cameras are not rolling. When a staffer asked Russia’s Sergey #Lavrov and Thailand’s Don Pramudwinai to “come closer together” for a photo op, Lavrov responded in English: “She invited us to where we are already.” pic.twitter.com/bp0Rsz5ZtQ— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) July 31, 2019
According to the Russian foreign ministry, last year trade volume between the two nations saw a 17% increase, with agricultural trade increasing by 39%.
ASEAN - the club of 10 Southeast Asian nations, was founded in 1967. Currently, the bloc is comprised of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar.
Even though Russia is not part of ASEAN, it’s a member of the broader partnership framework, which has been growing since 2005, when the first Russia-ASEAN summit was held in Kuala Lumpur. In 2016 the bloc’s top officials and business leaders from member nations took part in the Russia-ASEAN summit and business forum in Sochi.