UK seeks to boost post-Brexit ties with Asean partnership

Asean has 10 existing dialogue partners, including the European Union. (Reuters pic)

LONDON: Britain has applied to become a dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the government said on Friday, as it seeks to boost post-Brexit ties in the region.

Asean has 10 existing dialogue partners including the European Union, which Britain left at the end of January, as well as Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States.

Britain said it hoped partnership status with the 10-member Asean, which seeks to accelerate economic growth, social progress and collaboration in the region, would lead to new opportunities across trade, education, science and security.

“As Asia grows in importance, global Britain will cooperate even more closely with our friends in the region,” British foreign minister Dominic Raab said in a statement.

“By becoming one of Asean’s Dialogue Partners, we can strengthen our ability to cooperate across the Indo-Pacific region, as a force for good, on everything from climate change to regional stability.”

Britain already has an ambassador to Asean, whose members include Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, and said being a dialogue partner would allow Britain to attend annual Asean summits and ministerial meetings.