Hishammuddin: Malaysia’s role as Asean-Australia summit coordinator will enhance bilateral relations

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein speaks during the 8th US-Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur November 15, 2020. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein speaks during the 8th US-Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur November 15, 2020. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — Malaysia’s position as the coordinator of Asean-Australia relations until 2021 could strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries despite the spread of Covid-19, including for discussions on creating a travel bubble.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said apart from issues on Covid-19 and its vaccine, Malaysia and Australia can also leverage this good relationship for economic and educational cooperation.

“How can we be sure if the transmission of Covid-19 is more worrying, (and) how can Australia and Malaysia find a way... everything will be seen in full with Australia, and we (Malaysia) can help in our position as coordinator,” he said at the press conference marking the conclusion of the 37th Asean Summit which took place virtually.

He said Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed his appreciation to Malaysia after the 37th Asean Summit received Australia’s proposal to host the biennial Asean-Australia summit annually, starting next year.

Hishammuddin added that he and and his Australian counterpart Marise Payne, who had worked together when they were both Defence Ministers, will also ensure that bilateral relations with Australia would continue to be strengthened.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin led the Malaysian delegation at the summit virtually from here (Kuala Lumpur).

The summit was chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc as the Chairman of Asean 2020.

Hishammuddin along with Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali also participated in the summit.

Australia became the first country to be chosen as Asean Dialogue Partner in 1974. The first Asean-Australia Special Summit was held in Hanoi in October 2010. — Bernama

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