Minister Baird Advances Ties with Pacific Partners at ASEAN Meetings

(No. 213 - July 23, 2011 - 8:30 a.m. ET) John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, today successfully concluded Canada’s participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 44th Post Ministerial Conference and 18th ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Bali, Indonesia, advancing Canada’s security, human rights and commercial interests with key Pacific partners.

"Our government’s top priority is the economy and securing Canada’s economic recovery. That is what Canadians gave us a strong mandate to do," said Minister Baird. "So it makes sense to increase economic ties with our ASEAN partners while also working on our common security concerns and ensuring human rights are protected and enhanced throughout the region."

Nearly 600 million people live in ASEAN member states, a region whose aggregate GDP was $1.9 trillion in 2010. Canada hopes to continue increasing its commercial and political presence in the ASEAN region and in the larger Pacific area.

At these meetings, Minister Baird signed Canada’s accession to the Third Protocol Amending the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. This follows Canada’s accession to the Treaty in 2010 and further demonstrates the importance Canada places on its relationship with the ASEAN—a relationship which will mark its 35th anniversary next year.

During the regional forum meeting, Minister Baird discussed key regional security issues such as the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the situation in Burma and maritime security.

"Canada continues to take a principled approach to foreign policy issues," said the Minister. "Here in Indonesia, I have had the opportunity to convey Canada’s views on regional and international issues of concern, including those pertaining to Burma and North Korea."

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