Foreign Affairs Minister concludes ASEAN meetings focused on security and cooperation with Southeast Asia

News release

August 4, 2018 - Singapore - Global Affairs Canada

Canada’s relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is built on strong ties and continues to grow through economic and security cooperation.

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today concluded her participation in the annual ASEAN-Canada Post-Ministerial Conference and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held this year in Singapore. The meetings provided an opportunity for Canada to advance its priorities in the Asia-Pacific region and more broadly.

On August 2nd, the Minister delivered the Fullerton Lecture and spoke to regional leaders to reaffirm the importance of a multilateral system built on shared values and standards—a commitment to diversity, human rights and the rule of law, free trade and the mutual pursuit of a safer, more just, and more prosperous world.

At the ASEAN meetings, the Minister took stock of the broad relationship between Canada and ASEAN and exchanged views with representatives of ASEAN member states on pressing regional issues, including the militarization of the South China Sea, the plight of the Rohingya and the threat posed by North Korea. The Minister also underlined Canada’s commitment to pursuing a free trade agreement with ASEAN’s 10 member countries.

At the ARF, Minister Freeland reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to peace and security in Asia and exchanged views with her counterparts from the 26 member states on addressing key security issues and our shared interest in promoting and defending the rules-based international order.

Minister Freeland also announced funding for security initiatives which will help ASEAN member states improve their governments’ capacity to address gender issues in the context of transnational organized crime and migrant smuggling, promote cybersecurity and increase cooperation on disaster relief.

During her visit, the Minister met with counterparts from Australia, Bangladesh, China, the European Union, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand  and the United States. 


“As Canada marks 41 years of partnership with ASEAN, we continue to realize the benefits of our special relationship and the innumerable ties between Canadians and Southeast Asians. Our commitment to diversity, shared prosperity for our peoples and working together is strong. I know that we can continue to deepen our economic ties and advance regional security and stability.”

- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs

Quick facts

  • ASEAN is a dynamic region with 633 million people and a combined GDP of over US$2.4 trillion.‎

  • For 41 years, Canada has been one of only 10 ASEAN dialogue partners—countries that enjoy a special relationship with ASEAN and that participate in various dedicated ASEAN meetings.

  • Canada partners with ASEAN on a wide range of issues, from respect for justice and the rule of law to regional peace and stability, migrants’ rights and equitable and inclusive trade. 

  •  Canada also works closely with ASEAN countries on countering terrorism, counter-proliferation and humanitarian assistance, as well as mitigating and responding to disasters.

  • Canada is a founding member of the ARF, the premier multilateral security and defence forum in the Asia-Pacific region.

  •  Singapore is the chair of ASEAN in 2018 and is responsible for organizing and chairing a series of multilateral meetings. Thailand will assume chairmanship of ASEAN in 2019.

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