JAKARTA, 8 June 2016 –  ASEAN and Australia reaffirmed their strong commitment to further strengthen the strategic partnership at the 6th ASEAN-Australia Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting, held on 7 June 2016 at the ASEAN Secretariat.

Noting the good progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN-Australia Plan of Action (2015-2019), both sides agreed to continue discussion on priority areas and activities across the three pillars to  enhance the partnership.

ASEAN also expressed appreciation to Australia for its strong support for the “ASEAN Centrality” principle as well as for the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. Australia will continue to actively deepen cooperation and consultation within the ASEAN-led mechanisms, namely, the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) to promote peace and stability in the region, and  to foster a rules-based, open and inclusive regional architecture.

Noting the importance of economic linkages between both sides, the Meeting lauded the achievements made under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), including the extension of its Economic Cooperation support Programme to June 2018. ASEAN also thanked  Australia for its active promotion of business opportunities in ASEAN, including through the publication, “Why ASEAN and Why Now” produced in 2015.

To further support ASEAN integration and the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community blueprint, Australia reaffirmed its commitment through the extension of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Programme Phase II (AADCP II) to December 2019 with a total contribution of up to AUD 57.8 million. ASEAN looked forward to Australia’s continued support in delivering the Post-2015 Agenda for ASEAN Connectivity and the implementation of the IAI Work Plan III (2016-2020).

The Meeting welcomed the establishment of the Australia-ASEAN Council (AAC) in Australia last year to deepen people-to-people and institutional linkages in education, arts and culture. Noting that education is a flagship area of ASEAN and Australia cooperation, ASEAN appreciated Australia for its scholarships, grants and awards which benefit over three thousand students from ASEAN and Australia annually.

Both sides exchanged views on the future direction of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations and highlighted potential areas of cooperation, such as innovation, science and technology, renewable energy, food security, connectivity, gender issues, youth leadership and private sector development. They also looked forward to the convening of the first biennial ASEAN-Australia Leaders’ Summit in September 2016 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. U Min Lwin, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to ASEAN and H.E. Simon Philip Merrifield, Ambassador of Australia to ASEAN. Members of the Committee of Permanent Representative to ASEAN (CPR) and their representatives, as well as the ASEAN Secretariat were also in attendance.

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