Vivian looks forward to 'fruitful' talks with Asean counterparts

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan met his Asean counterparts in Phnom Penh on Aug 2, 2022.

PHNOM PENH - Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan met his Asean counterparts in Phnom Penh on Tuesday (Aug 2), ahead of an official bloc meeting on Wednesday.

He also met the foreign ministers of Greece and Timor-Leste after arriving in the Cambodian capital to attend the 55th Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) and related meetings.

"Had a good opportunity to meet my counterparts from Asean, as well as Greece and Timor-Leste," he said in a Facebook post Tuesday evening.

The minister added that he was looking forward to the AMM on Wednesday, which will be the regional grouping's first in-person session since Covid-19 hit.

"Anticipating fruitful and wide-ranging discussions with my counterparts on key geopolitical developments and how Asean can emerge stronger from the pandemic," he said.

Dr Balakrishnan and his counterparts had earlier attended a meeting of the South-east Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone commission. Asean states signed a treaty on such a zone in 1995 to keep the region free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

He then met Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, and the pair discussed the war in Ukraine, territorial integrity and political independence, among other topics.

"As small maritime nations, we reaffirmed the primacy of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," Dr Balakrishnan said, adding that Singapore and Greece have a good record of supporting each other.

He also met Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Adaljiza Magno, and noted that Singapore has strong relations with the country that it will continue to strengthen.

The AMM on Wednesday will see discussions on how the region can work together to recover from the pandemic, review efforts to build a regional community and discuss ways to continue strengthening Asean centrality and unity, as well as regional peace and stability.

Asean centrality refers to the bloc being in the driver's seat and shaping key decisions affecting South-east Asia, instead of having the region's fortunes determined by external parties.

A joint communique agreed upon by all Asean members is traditionally released after the AMM.

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