Russian deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko reiterated his government’s commitment to advancing ties with ASEAN, saying Moscow continues to support the bloc’s centrality in maintaining peace, stability and development in the region.
Rudenko was addressing the 11th ASEAN-Russia Senior Officials’ Meeting (ARSOM), which he co-chaired with Cambodian foreign ministry secretary of state Kung Phoak, in Siem Reap on April 27-28.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste, according to an April 29 press release issued by Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The release described Rudenko’s appreciation for Cambodia’s smooth coordination of ASEAN-Russia dialogue relations from 2021 to 2024.
“[Rudenko] also confirmed Russia’s continued support for the ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture to uphold peace, stability and prosperity in the region,” it said.
Phoak underlined the long-standing friendship between ASEAN and Russia and stressed the importance of Russia’s firm support for ASEAN centrality, which is reflected in its active participation in ASEAN-led mechanisms to promote peace, security, stability and socio-economic growth and prosperity in the region.
“He [Phoak] added that ASEAN and Russia need to further strengthen cooperation within the three pillars of the ASEAN Community to advance the ASEAN-Russia partnership to new heights,” it added.
Rudenko also expressed support for Indonesia as the rotating ASEAN chair and its theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth.”
“The meeting participants noted with satisfaction the excellent progress of the implementation of the ASEAN-Russia comprehensive plan of action from 2021 to 2025, and deliberated on the future direction of ASEAN-Russia cooperation. Several activities are planned to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the ASEAN-Russia strategic partnership this year,” it said.
“Russia has proposed several joint activities related to countering organised crime, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), sustainable development, smart cities and education cooperation, among others,” it added.
The meeting also discussed matters of common and urgent interests relating to the regional architecture, stressing the importance of enhancing cooperation during the post-Covid-19 recovery period.
Thong Mengdavid, a researcher at the Asian Vision Institute’s Mekong Centre for Strategic Studies, said increased cooperation between ASEAN and Russia is a joint strategy that will promote economic recovery and regional development.
He said ASEAN is an important area to balance Russia’s power and economy, as it is facing an economic crisis due to the war in Ukraine and sanctions.
“For ASEAN, Russia is a potential partner in investment, economic and technological development, and military modernisation,” he told The Post on April 30.
“Although some ASEAN countries do not support the war in Ukraine, the restoration of peace in Europe through negotiations for the common good of all parties would adhere to ASEAN principles. As we are all aware, a continued war would be a loss for all sides,” he said.