On 2 November 2019 Germany will formally accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC). For Germany this is an important step in strengthening our relations with ASEAN, an increasingly important community with growing regional and universal 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 – joined and supported by Singapore from its inauguration earlier this year – a supraregional network of countries committed to preserving and further developing our rules-based order, strengthen cooperation and bolster the values of the UN.
Germany, as the biggest member state of the European Union, therefore welcomes the invitation by ASEAN to join the growing number of Parties to this important Treaty. We recognize the resolve to open ASEAN’s regional cooperation to interested and like-minded players from outside the region. Germany’s accession to the TAC complements the ratification by the European Union which took place back in 2012. We will strive to create synergies and complement each other in our support and cooperation with our partners in Southeast Asia.
Germany entertains traditional and close ties to all Member States of ASEAN. To most of them we are a major partner in trade and investment. 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.
Germany became, in 2016, the first “development partner” of ASEAN. We are actively engaged in supporting regional ASEAN initiatives in the field of sustainability, regional integration and capacity building. But for us, ASEAN is more than a development partner: We see the region as a hub of growth, dynamism and civil societies striving for openness, democracy and the rule of law.
We also see ASEAN as a security partner of growing importance. Since the beginning of 2019 we work closely with Indonesia as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. We are looking forward to the same cooperation with Vietnam who will be joining the UNSC at the beginning of 2020. We recognize the important contribution of many ASEAN countries in UN peacekeeping operations around the globe. In many crisis-driven countries soldiers from Germany and ASEAN countries work hand in hand and in the context of multinational and regional cooperation in the field of maritime security and counter-piracy we will post a German Navy Officer to the Singapore based Information Fusion Center with effect from January 2020. And we have just been elected to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, where we will cooperate closely with Indonesia and the Philippines.
As one of the top trading powers in the world we are naturally focused on regional stability, including rights and freedoms under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). We would like to intensify our dialogue with the region, particularly as ASEAN has taken important leadership in designing an architecture for a peaceful, connected and growing Indo-Pacific.
Acceding to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation we pledge to be an active, reliant and supportive partner for ASEAN in its quest to maintain and develop a peaceful and prosperous regional environment. We are ready to share our expertise and experience in a broad range of areas: from security and crisis management to technology and connectivity. Through our role in the European Union we pledge to do our part to bring the two regions closer to each other. We are supporting the efforts to reopen region to region negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement, which would complement the existing bilateral FTA’s.
Finally, and with a view to our EU presidency in 2020 and Singapore’s current role as coordinator for EU-ASEAN-relations, we will do everything to formalize the upgrading of the EU-ASEAN relations to the level of a Strategic Partnership.