France’s foreign minister Laurant Fabius sits across some flags from the ASEAN Secretary General, H.E. Le Luong Minh.
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius visited Jakarta from July 31 to August 2 in an effort to build a bilateral strategic partnership with Indonesia. Fabius also visited the Secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where he met with Secretary-General (pictured above).
Fabius is the first French Minister of Foreign Affairs to visit Indonesia in 17 years, and the speech he gave about French Policy towards Asia during his visit to the ASEAN Secretariat is worth a read. He began with a bit of history (early diplomatic contacts in the 16th century), and culture (art, bread and spring rolls, etc.) before getting down to the geopolitics: Continue reading
The latest IISS-Fullerton Lecture (08 February 2013) gave us a speech by the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle, entitled:
“Europe at a Crossroads: The Path Towards Fresh Growth” (video here)
Half of the speech was devoted to countering the prevailing narrative about Europe being on the way down. Then on security issues, Mr. Westerwelle had this to say Continue reading
Outgoing US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta delivered a speech in London on 18 January, where he called on Europe to join in the US rebalance to Asia: Continue reading
Yes, ASEAN failed to agree a communique at its last meeting in Phnom Penh, but don’t let that eclipse a significant event for Europe-Asia security relations – the first EU-US dialogue on Asia-Pacific issues. This resulted in a joint statement listing ‘common objectives’, including in the field of peace and security.
And what about that visit to China? Back to that later. In the 12 July 2012 ASEAN statement, High Representative Ashton and Secretary Clinton welcomed –
1) progress being made in regional cooperation and integration in the Asia-Pacific.
2) the central role played by ASEAN and its promotion of wider regional fora, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit.
3) an active and constructive role for China in the Asia-Pacific Region.
When it comes to Peace and security:
UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague gave this speech at the IISS Fullerton lecture in Singapore on ‘Britain in Asia’.
It will receive due attention in a later post, but for now I recommend it as a good read to give some context to UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent tour through Asia.
Here are some excerpts:
My message today is that those who might think that British engagement with Asia is a thing of the past, or that we will become a partner of declining relevance, could not be more wrong. Today Britain is looking East as never before. We are setting our country firmly on the path to far closer ties with countries across Asia over the next twenty years; and on a completely new footing from the past.
On shedding our colonial baggage – Continue reading