Rejecting protectionism, ASEAN and Australia commit to free trade

Rejecting protectionism, ASEAN and Australia commit to free trade

The leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member-countries and Australia will be discussing the South China Sea dispute during the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit to be held in Sydney this week.

Australia is fully committed to backing ASEAN as the strategic convenor of the region, Turnbull stated.

The prime minister said this was because as terrorist threats could cross borders, certain information might not be important to one country, but might be useful and vital to others.

Mr Turnbull said that more cooperation between Australia and ASEAN states on terror issues was an urgent priority as ISIL was moving quickly to grow its ideological influence in the region. Southeast Asian nations have called on North Korea to end its nuclear program and taken a firm stance against protectionism in view of Donald Trump's trade policies.

PM Phúc is expected to deliver three speeches, with the focus on ASEAN-Australia co-operation, including enhancing regional security and prosperity, the ASEAN-Australia economic partnership and regional maritime co-operation.

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Responding to the matter, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said that Australia would "very seriously" consider any formal invitation.

The Southeast Asian countries also urged Myanmar to protect Rohingya Muslims, who have been fleeing to Bangladesh and other neighboring countries since violent clashes broke out in Myanmar's Rakhine state a year ago.

"Australia would be happy to be able to have it waived for every other single country in the world - in other words, for the U.S. to withdraw from this particular initiative", he said.

Ten Southeast Asian nations and Australia on Saturday urged countries to reject protectionism, as the United States raised tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, risking a possible trade war.

Certain countries, such as Cambodia and Thailand, haven't signaled opposition to Beijing's growing clout in the area, which is reflected by an influx of Chinese-funded infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative and man-made Chinese islands in the South China Sea.

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The moves by certain parties who do not want Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Malaysian government to be accorded special honours at the 2018 Asean-Australia Special Summit here did not get the attention of the Australian government.

Najib said he had shared with Canberra and other Asean leaders, Malaysia's long and consistent record in combating terrorism and violent extremism, thanks in part, to its existing laws and mechanisms.

It is the largest economy in ASEAN and has trade with New Zealand worth $1.8 billion.

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi attended the summit.

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