Britain obtains ‘dialogue partner’ status from Southeast Asia bloc

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A Union Jack flag flies as the Big Ben clock tower is seen behind the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain September 11, 2019. REUTERS / Toby Melville

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LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Britain has been awarded Association of Southeast Asian Nations ‘dialogue partner’ status, a step forward in London’s drive to strengthen relations diplomatic service in Asia after leaving the European Union.

Britain has requested this status as part of its post-Brexit policy shift to focus more on high-growth economies in Asia and the Indo-Pacific, and away from the EU it has left in 2020.

“We have agreed to grant the UK the status of ASEAN Dialogue Partner in view of its individual relationship with ASEAN as well as its past cooperation and engagement with ASEAN when it was a member. of the European Union, “said a statement released by ASEAN. at its last meeting.

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ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The group maintains close diplomatic relations with other world powers, including the EU, the United States and China, and is seen by many as an important forum for the discussion of geopolitical issues.

The United States sees ASEAN as key to its efforts to resist China’s growing influence in Asia. Read more

But the group, whose members are bound by a code not to interfere in each other’s affairs, has recently been criticized by some politicians and rights activists in the region for being nothing more than a chat.

Becoming a dialogue partner gives Britain high-level access to ASEAN summits. The UK government hopes it will also stimulate deeper practical cooperation on issues such as climate change and regional stability.

Britain has also asked to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal it hopes will open up new markets for goods and services and strengthen existing trade ties.

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Reporting by William James; edited by Guy Faulconbridge, Alistair Smout and Nick Macfie

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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