Australian PM invites Asean leaders to attend 2018 summit

Canberra, Sep 8 (IANS) Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has extended an invitation to the leaders of Asean nations to attend a summit in Canberra in 2018, according to an official statement.

Turnbull announced the summit in a statement on his website late on Wednesday, inviting leaders to Canberra to discuss a number of regional issues as Australia aims to strengthen ties with its regional neighbours, Xinhua news agency reported.

“A special Asean-Australia Leaders’ Summit in 2018 — bringing leaders of all South-East Asian nations to Australia together for the first time,” Turnbull said.

He said the summit would be the first opportunity for all ASEAN leaders to come together in Australia and address issues such as the threat of terrorism and future of trade between Australia and nations in Southeast Asia.

The Prime Minister had previously talked about the need to form strong counter-terror links with neighbouring nations, and said the summit would serve to “bolster (Australia’s) strategic partnership” with Asean nations.

“In keeping with the two themes of today’s Asean-Australia Summit, a special summit in Australia would deepen our economic partnership through closer links between Asean and Australian businesses and the private sector, and bolster our strategic partnership,” he said.

“We are proud to be Asean’s Strategic Partner, a substantial economic partner, an advocate of a peaceful, rules-based neighbourhood, and a highly engaged participant in Asean-led regional architecture.”

Turnbull foreshadowed the summit that is to take place in Australia’s capital city Canberra in 2018.

–IANS

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