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UK foreign secretary begins week-long SE Asia visit with first stop in Malaysia

MALAY MAIL Sun, November 07, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR – The United Kingdom’s (UK) Foreign Secretary Liz Truss arrived in Malaysia on Sunday to begin her week-long visit to the South-east Asia to deepen economic and security links with fast-growing and increasingly influential countries. Besides Malaysia, Truss will also visit Thailand and Indonesia in order to strengthen the UK’s relationship with each country, reflecting their growing economic and diplomatic heft.

The British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, in a statement, said the Foreign Secretary believes UK ties with key South-east Asian nations are “underpowered” and that deepening them will deliver jobs and opportunities to the UK while boosting security and prosperity in the region.

The Foreign Secretary also seek to build closer ties on infrastructure investment into the region and step-up work through the Clean Green Initiative to co-invest in reliable, sustainable infrastructure with friends and partners, it said.

“I want to position Britain where the future growth is and to think about who our major partners will be in 2050 and beyond.

“South-east Asia will be the engine of the global economy and I want Britain to be part of that, upgrading our economic and security relations with the region to reflect its growing importance,” the statement quoted Truss as saying.

This will be Truss’ first visit to Malaysia and South-east Asia since being appointed the Foreign Secretary in Sept 2021.

It is also the Foreign Secretary’s first visit to the region since the UK’s successful bid to become an Asean Dialogue Partner in August this year.

“Asean is a market of 650 million people, predicted to be fourth largest ‘single market’ by 2030 and trade between the UK and Asean nations was worth almost £34 billion in 2020. 

“All three economies on the visit are projected to grow at a faster rate than the world’s largest economy, the US, out to 2050. Indonesian is forecast to more than quintuple its GDP by 532 per cent between 2020 and 2050 – with increases in Malaysia and Thailand of 393 per cent and 258 per cent respectively,” the statement said.

According to the statement, in Malaysia, Truss will meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to discuss defence cooperation, as well as trade.  She will also meet her Malaysian counterpart Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah to forge stronger ties on maritime security and champion free trade.

The Foreign Secretary and Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin are also scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for a healthcare partnership.

The Foreign Secretary will then travel to Thailand where she will meet Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai to discuss deeper digital and tech investment and security collaboration.

As part of the visit, Truss will formally open the new British Embassy in Bangkok and visit the Triumph Motorcycle factory to promote British businesses in the region.

In Indonesia, the Foreign Secretary will meet Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi for talks on economic diplomacy, trade and foreign policy issues including the Myanmar crisis and Afghanistan.

She will also meet the Asean Secretary General to discuss deepening ties and working together to help the region build back better.

Truss will also forge closer ties with the Indonesians on counterterrorism and cyber security in her visit to Indonesia. — Bernama

SOURCE: MALAY MAIL, MALAYSIA Sun, November 07, 2021

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