Canada celebrates 40 years of relations with ASEAN in May

June 9, 2017 – Jakarta, Indonesia – Mission of Canada to ASEAN

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland and ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh.

Canada continued celebrations of its 40th anniversary of Dialogue Partner Relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the month of May. Culminating with the visit of Secretary General H.E. Le Luong Minh to Ottawa and Vancouver on May 27 to June 1 and Canada’s Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan’s participation in the Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore, the strength of the mutually beneficial, multi-faceted, 21st Century partnership between Canada and ASEAN was on prominent display. Minister Sajjan was making his second trip to Southeast Asia this year and participated in the Shangri-La Dialogue for the second year in a row.

This was Secretary General Minh’s first official visit to Canada in his current position, but H.E. Minh’s enjoyed a previous assignment to the Vietnamese Embassy in Ottawa from 1976 to 1981.

On May 2, Canada’s Ambassador to ASEAN Marie-Louise Hannan outlined Canada’s support for ASEAN border security at a border management conference co-hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok, Thailand.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Donald Bobiash and Ambassador of Canada to ASEAN, Marie-Louise Hannan.

This was followed by the 14th ASEAN-Canada Dialogue from May 7 to 8, where Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia-Pacific, Donald Bobiash, welcomed his ASEAN Senior Official colleagues to Ottawa. At the Dialogue, Mr. Bobiash discussed how Canada is working with ASEAN and its Member States to make Southeast Asia safer, more secure and more prosperous for people on both sides of the Pacific through cooperation on disaster risk management, small and medium sized enterprises, counter-terrorism, anti-crime, and the rights of migrant labours, women and girls.

Later the same week, from May 10 to 12, Assistant Deputy Minister for International Security and Political Affairs, Mark Gwozdecky, and Major-General Derrick Joyce welcomed delegates of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Defence Officials’ Dialogue and Intersessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures and Preventive Diplomacy to Ottawa. Canada led discussions on activities that will help ARF Member States address the most pressing security issues facing the Asia-Pacific region, most notably North Korea’s illegal ballistic missile and nuclear programs, threats from violent extremism and terrorism and the situation in the South China Sea.

The Director General for International Security, Heidi Hulan, led Canada’s delegation to the ASEAN Regional Forum Senior Officials meeting on May 24 where Canada continued discussions with its Asia-Pacific Partners on regional security cooperation.

Left to right: Ambassador of the Philippines to ASEAN Elizabeth Buensuceso; Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ian Shuggart; Assistant Deputy Minister, Donald Bobiash.

In addition, on May 26, Director for Counter-Terrorism and Anti-Crime Capacity Building, Jamie Bell, led Canada’s delegation to the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime, in Vientiane, Lao PDR. During Canada’s consultations with ASEAN, Mr. Bell laid out how Canada’s support for ASEAN is making borders in the region safer, helping ASEAN Member States track foreign terrorist fighters and countering the financing of terrorism. Mr. Bell also discussed areas for future cooperation, notably on cyber issues.

On May 30, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland joined Secretary General Le Luong Minh to open a conference at Global Affairs Canada’s Headquarters in Ottawa on Southeast Asia in an evolving global landscape: Prospects for an integrated region and implications for Canada. At the conference, Canada’s leading scholars on Southeast Asia argued that Canada’s position in Asia will be greatly strengthened by continued engagement with ASEAN.


“As we celebrate 40 years of Dialogue Partner Relations with ASEAN, the Government of Canada is committed to strengthening security, building prosperity, and reducing poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.”

-Marie-Louise Hannan, Ambassador of Canada to ASEAN

Quick Facts

  • Canada is providing nearly $70 million in support of 21 ongoing projects across ASEAN’s socio-cultural, political-security and economic communities.
  • Since 2000, Canada has provided $2.7 billion in development assistance to ASEAN and its member states.
  • Canada currently provides more than $14 million in security assistance to ASEAN member states. This support is helping ASEAN achieve its ambitious integration goals, which in turn contributes to regional peace and security, and helps promote Canadian foreign policy objectives in Southeast Asia.
  • Canada has committed $22.9 million to support four ongoing projects in the areas of infrastructure, financial sector supervision, the growth of small and medium enterprises, and agriculture.


Stuart Shaw
Mission of Canada to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
+62 (21) 2550 7800 
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