KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 13 — Malaysia welcomes the Joint Statement of the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit on Cooperation on the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) as it demonstrates the commitment of ASEAN and Japan in strengthening practical cooperation.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in his intervention at the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit today, said Malaysia is confident that the strong relations between ASEAN and Japan will be further manifested by various engagements and initiatives under four areas of cooperation – maritime, connectivity, economic, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We look forward to further enhancing our mutually beneficial and close collaboration with mutual interests on the various areas of cooperation,” he said at the summit, held within the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings.
The AOIP, adopted during the 34th ASEAN Summit in Thailand, is meant to contribute to the maintenance of peace, freedom and prosperity.
In the joint statement of the AOIP, leaders of ASEAN and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing the ASEAN-Japan Strategic Partnership for mutual benefit.
They also recalled the shared view to promote a rules-based Indo-Pacific region that is free and open, embraces key principles such as ASEAN’s unity and centrality, inclusiveness, transparency, and complements ASEAN community building process.
The leaders also reaffirmed the objectives and principles of the AOIP which provides a guide for ASEAN’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean regions, while encouraging external partners to work with ASEAN to undertake practical cooperation on the four key areas identified in the AOIP.
Meanwhile, on the economic front, Japan has demonstrated a pivotal and mutually beneficial role as one of ASEAN’s top trading partners as well as an important source of foreign direct investments to ASEAN.
“In this regard, Malaysia views the adoption of the ASEAN-Japan Economic Resilience Action Plan as indeed timely. We believe that the Plan will significantly help maintain the necessary flow of goods and services, as well as sustain the supply chain connectivity in the region,” Muhyiddin said.
Muhyiddin said the Action Plan is vital to mitigate the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the regional economy.
The prime minister also said further cooperation between ASEAN and Japan in the area of information technology will be mutually beneficial in their efforts to have comprehensive economic recovery post-COVID-19 pandemic.
The prime minister said Japan’s expertise in information technology would be invaluable to ASEAN in the region’s efforts to adapt to the digital revolution.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has, in various ways, increased our reliance on technology even further – be it for work, study or staying in touch with people. It is therefore imperative for us to increase digital adoption and ramp up the Fourth Industrial Revolution technological endeavours,” he said.
Touching on education cooperation, Muhyiddin said Malaysia warmly welcome the continued and existing engagement between various education institutions in ASEAN and Japan in promoting greater networking, especially in the field of education and research, through sharing of resources and expertise, exchanging knowledge and ideas as well as other areas of mutual interest.
“In this regard, we would like to see both sides undertake concrete efforts to intensify the partnership and collaboration between the industry and academia among ASEAN and Japan,” he said.
Malaysia, he said, views technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as a concrete investment with significant returns.
Muhyiddin also conveys Malaysia’s appreciation for Japan’s contribution of US$1 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and welcome Japan’s proposed establishment of an ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.
“We welcome the final report of the feasibility study for the establishment of the Centre and hope that it could be materialised soon,” he said.
The prime minister is leading the Malaysian delegation at the biannual summit virtually from here (Kuala Lumpur) which run till Sunday.
The summit is chaired by Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his capacity as ASEAN Chair 2020 under the theme “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN.”