ASEAN continues to deepen its engagement and strengthen its cooperation with its external partners to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the region. At the 17th ASEAN Summits and Related Meetings held in Hanoi, Vietnam from 28-30 October 2010, good progress was made within the frameworks of ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, and the East Asia Summit. In line with ASEAN's goal of building an ASEAN Community by 2015, ASEAN, together with its Dialogue Partners, had extensive discussions on possible cooperative initiatives that would not only contribute to regional stability and prosperity, but also assist ASEAN's community-building efforts.
ASEAN-Australia. During the ASEAN-Australia Summit at the 17th ASEAN Summits and Related Meetings, Australia proposed a list of key initiatives amounting to over $130 million for transport infrastructure and trade projects. Australia has consistently contributed to ASEAN through development cooperation which has been the traditional mainstay of the relationship. AusAID (Australian Agency for International Development) launched a series of programmes aimed at promoting regional development in ASEAN, including the second phase of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Programme (AADCP II), valued at A$57 million, in 2009.
ASEAN-China. ASEAN-China relations are strong and continue to grow since China initiated its engagement of ASEAN at the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Kuala Lumpur in 1991. Trade and economic relations have peaked in recent years, with China emerging as ASEAN's largest trading partner in 2009. Under the ASEAN-China FTA, which came into force in January 2010, more than 90 percent of goods between ASEAN-6 and China would be traded duty-free by end-2010.
2011 will mark the 20th anniversary of China's relations with ASEAN, and it will be designated as the "China-ASEAN Friendship and Exchange Year", with the theme "China-ASEAN: Mutually Beneficial and Win-Win Partners". Singapore is supportive of the various proposed commemorative activities, which includes the official opening of the ASEAN-China Centre in Beijing as well as various people-to-people exchanges in the socio-cultural fields.
ASEAN-EU. The EU is an important trading partner to ASEAN, being the 2nd largest trading partner after China. In addition, the EU has also been a supportive partner of ASEAN in spearheading and funding functional cooperation initiatives. For instance, the Plan of Action to Implement the Nuremberg Declaration on an EU-ASEAN Enhanced Partnership, a key outcome of the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit, maps out cooperation between ASEAN and the EU under the political and security, economic, and socio-cultural pillars. The EU had also committed to increasing its financial support for ASEAN's goal of achieving an integrated Community by 2015, in particular the ASEAN Single Market, to an annual amount of €10 million over the next seven years. Moving forward, ASEAN and EU economic relations are expected to be further intensified and strengthened with the ongoing ASEAN-EU FTA negotiations, which began in May 2007.
ASEAN-India. At the 8th ASEAN-India Summit, Leaders endorsed the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (PoA) (2010-2015) and welcomed the creation of an ASEAN-India Eminent Persons Group to chart future directions for ASEAN-India relations. Leaders also welcomed the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit to be held in 2012 in India to mark 20 years of ASEAN-India relations. There is also renewed commitment to work towards the completion of the Services and Investment chapters of the ASEAN-India FTA. Once the FTA is complete, it will serve as a key building block towards a larger regional FTA among the EAS countries, called the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA). In an effort to facilitate more people-to-people exchanges, India announced that they would be extending their "visa on arrival" facility to Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines and Laos from 1 Jan 2011. To support the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity, India would also be offering 100 IT scholarships to each ASEAN Member State over the next five years.
ASEAN-Japan. Japan is one of ASEAN's oldest dialogue partners, with a long history of investing in ASEAN's development through infrastructure projects, Foreign Direct Investment, assistance to SMEs, and human resource development. During the 13th ASEAN-Japan Summit held in Hanoi on 29 October 2010, the Leaders reaffirmed the importance of the long-stranding friendship and strategic partnership between the two sides, and commenced the process of reviewing the 2003 Tokyo Declaration for the Dynamic and Enduring ASEAN-Japan Partnership in the New Millennium and its Plan of Action for adoption at the 14th ASEAN-Japan Summit to be held in 2011 in Indonesia.
ASEAN-New Zealand. The ASEAN-New Zealand Commemorative Summit celebrating 35 year of dialogue relations saw a number of new flagship projects announced by New Zealand amounting to $4 million for disaster risk management initiatives, scholarships for ASEAN students to study in New Zealand, a Young Business Leaders' exchange programme, as well as skills development and knowledge sharing in agriculture. The Foreign Ministers had adopted the Joint Declaration for an ASEAN-New Zealand Comprehensive Partnership and its Plan of Action in July 2010 at the ASEAN-New Zealand Post-Ministerial Conference outlining key areas of mutual interest such as disaster management, climate change, education, people-to-people and business linkages. The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA) also entered into force on 1 January 2010 and is the first comprehensive FTA between ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners that was concluded in a single undertaking.
ASEAN-ROK. The ASEAN-ROK Leaders adopted the Joint Declaration and Plan of Action for an ASEAN-ROK Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity at the 13th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, on 29 October 2010. In addition, the ROK announced that it would double its contributions to the IAI to US$10 billion by 2013. The ASEAN-ROK Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) entered into force on 1 January 2010.
ASEAN-Russia. At the 2nd ASEAN-Russian Federation Summit in October 2010 in Hanoi, Vietnam, the Leaders adopted a Joint Statement which highlighted deepening cooperation in the areas of counter-terrorism, disaster management, energy and trade. Singapore welcomed Russia's proposal for a specific roadmap for trade, economic and investment cooperation to be prepared at the next ASEAN-Russia Economic Ministers' meeting. Russia has also offered assistance towards the development of the Mekong region as its contribution towards narrowing the development gap in ASEAN. The signing of the ASEAN-Russia Cultural Agreement at the 2nd ASEAN-Russia Summit will help promote extensive cultural exchanges given the rich cultural heritage of both parties. To kick-start the Agreement, Singapore has proposed that ASEAN museums and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg explore collaboration possibilities.
ASEAN-UN. The 3rd ASEAN-UN Summit held in October 2010 was an opportunity for Leaders and United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-Moon to discuss issues, such as the global financial crisis, climate change, and food and energy security, the Leaders adopted the Joint Declaration on ASEAN-UN Collaboration in Disaster Management and agreed to prepare and implement the "ASEAN-UN Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management 2011-2015". In an effort to better coordinate the distribution of relief and recovery assistance to countries affected by disasters in the region, ASEAN and UN agreed to develop closer links between the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre).
ASEAN-US. The US acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) in July 2009. The US also participated in the inaugural ASEAN-US Leaders' Meeting (AULM) held in Singapore in November 2009 and hosted the second AULM in New York in September 2010. To signal its increasing engagement of the region, the US will join the expanded East Asia Summit (EAS) in 2011 together with Russia. Notable ongoing ASEAN-US initiatives include the following: building on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, establishment of the ASEAN-US Eminent Persons Group (EPG) to take stock and make recommendations to strengthen ASEAN-US relations, strengthening education cooperation by encouraging more academic exchanges and research collaboration, and a proposed meeting between the energy Ministers of ASEAN and the US. Representatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights were also invited to the US for a study visit in November 2010.
ASEAN-Canada. ASEAN-Canada Dialogue relations have been strengthened in recent years through the endorsement of the ASEAN-Canada Joint Cooperation Work Plans (JCWP) (2005-2007 and 2007-2010) which covers areas such as disaster management, counter-terrorism, transnational crime and inter-faith dialogue. At the ASEAN-Canada Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) in July 2010, the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on an ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership was adopted. Canada also acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) as its contribution towards the promotion of peace and stability in the region.