SYDNEY– Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop began her six-day visit to Thailand and the Philippines Wednesday to enhance bilateral relations and promote Australia’s economic and security benefits in Southeast Asia.

In Bangkok, Bishop is scheduled to meet with her Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai and other Thai ministers and leaders to discuss measures to increase the role of Australia in political, economic and security issues.

On this occasion, Australia will officially launch a new embassy in Bangkok, which is considered one of the biggest external events of Australia this year.

Australia and Thailand are celebrating the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2017. Thailand is the eighth biggest trade partner of Australia.

In Manila, Bishop will attend the ASEAN-Australia Ministerial Meeting and the ASEAN Regional Forum along with activities to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of the 10-national regional grouping.

The meetings will focus on major challenges in the region including the South China Sea issue, the Korean Peninsula and terrorism.

Bishop said she is also co-chairing the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney in March 2018 to affirm the significant contributions of ASEAN in promoting regional peace and prosperity.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


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