At this year’s ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Germany formally accedes to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. For Germany, this is an important step towards strengthening our relations with ASEAN, a dynamic community with growing regional and global significance.
The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation embodies our common belief in multilateralism and regional cooperation, in dialogue and peaceful settlement of conflicts on the basis of common rules. ASEAN is committed to these principles. So is Germany.
As the multilateral and rules-based international order is under pressure, it is important that the champions of these fundamental principles join hands and double their efforts against unilateralism, populism and a short-sighted focus on excessive national egoism. Germany has therefore initiated an alliance for multilateralism – a network of countries committed to preserving and further developing our rules-based order, strengthening cooperation and bolstering the values of the UN.
Germany entertains close ties with all ASEAN Member States. To most of them we are a major partner in trade, investment and development. There are numerous partnerships of our academic and research institutions demonstrating our commitment to share progress in innovation and technology. Our development cooperation is designed to actively support sustainable growth in the region.
ASEAN is young and growing. Its people are striving for openness, democracy and the rule of law. This is why Germany is proud to call itself the first development partner of ASEAN. We are actively engaged in supporting regional ASEAN initiatives on trade integration, competitiveness, and biodiversity, to name but a few.
We also see ASEAN as a security and political partner of growing importance. Since the beginning of 2019, Germany has worked closely with Indonesia in the UN Security Council. We are looking forward to the same level of cooperation with Vietnam who will be joining the Council at the beginning of 2020. We recognise the important contribution of many ASEAN Member States and Cambodia in particular to UN peacekeeping operations around the globe. With the support from Cambodia, Germany was recently elected to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, in which our ASEAN colleagues will be important partners for us.
ASEAN has taken an important leadership role in designing the architecture for a peaceful, connected and growing Indo-Pacific. By acceding to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, Germany pledges to be an active, reliant and supportive partner for ASEAN in its quest to maintain and develop a peaceful and prosperous regional environment. This includes the rights and freedoms under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas.
Germany pledges to do its part in bringing ASEAN and the EU closer together. We support the ambitious efforts to reopen the negotiations on an ASEAN-EU Free Trade Agreement, complementing the existing bilateral ones. We will work hard towards upgrading the ASEAN-EU relations to the level of a Strategic Partnership during Germany’s EU presidency in 2020. We are ready to share our expertise and experience in a broad range of areas: from security and crisis management to technology and connectivity.
Mr. Christian Berger is the German Ambassador in Phnom Penh