Baird Continues Asia Tour, Attends ASEAN Meetings

July 30, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will continue his trip through Asia with visits to three Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states: Singapore, Indonesia and Burma. He will also make the first-ever visit by a Canadian foreign minister to Timor-Leste and follow up on his visit to Beijing, China, with further meetings in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

“Canada is a Pacific nation, and we are committed to enhancing our economic and bilateral engagement in this region,” said Baird. “Strengthening commercial, political and security ties with ASEAN and its member states remains a priority for Canada.”

In Singapore, Canada’s current ASEAN Coordinating Country, Baird will hold talks with Minister for Foreign Affairs Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. He will also deliver a speech on Canadian engagement in Asia as part of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Fullerton Lecture series. In Timor-Leste, Baird will meet with Foreign Minister José Luis Guterres, President Taur Matan Ruak and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão.

In Indonesia, which concluded successful presidential elections on July 9, Baird will attend the second ministerial-level Bilateral Consultative Forum with Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa and meet with ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh at the ASEAN Secretariat.

“When Canadians think of our country’s priority relationships in Asia, we tend to think of the dominant regional countries, including Japan, India and China,” said Baird. “Those nations are undoubtedly important to us, but we must not ignore the tremendous growing opportunities in Southeast Asia and our strengthening ties to that dynamic and remarkably diverse region.”

In Hong Kong, Baird will meet with government officials and officially inaugurate the new offices of the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong. While in Guangzhou, the Minister will meet with Guangdong Party Secretary Hu Chunhua and hold a round table with local Chinese business leaders to promote investment in Canada.

Finishing his visit to Southeast Asia, Baird will officially open Canada’s first resident Embassy in Yangon, Burma, and participate in his fourth consecutive ASEAN-Canada Post Ministerial Conference. Canada is one of ASEAN’s longest-standing dialogue partners.

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