Studying in the Master of International Relations program at the University of Queensland
The ASEAN-Australia Special Summit to be held this weekend is sparking new optimism for closer and more strategic cooperation between the two parties. Yet as the day of the summit approaches, the risk of this optimism going pale is apparent.
The growing concern that Australia will also use the event to raise human rights issues in some ASEAN countries may lead to responses from Cambodia and the Philippines.
Considering that Australia has been the longest ASEAN dialogue partner since the establishment of the ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Forum in 1974, a new approach in the relations between ASEAN and Australia is imperative if the two parties want to make the coming summit an impetus for the “new level of engagement”, as coined in a statement from the 29th ASEAN-Australia Forum held on March 9 and 10 in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, last year.
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