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Visit to Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR and the Philippines.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

ALEXANDER DOWNER

 

FA97

20 July 1998

 

Visit to Malaysia, Hong Kong SAR and the Philippines

 

I will visit Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines from 22 to 30 July, where I will have discussions on a range of bilateral and regional economic and security issues. I will attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) meetings in Manila.

 

I will take the opportunity of the visit in part to reassure regional leaders about Australia’s continuing commitment to, and interest in the region.

 

My visit to Malaysia from 22 to 24 July will be my fourth trip there as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

 

Malaysia is an important bilateral partner and is playing a leadership role in the region. The visit will provide a timely opportunity to review the state of our very healthy bilateral relationship and to exchange views on regional issues including the economic crisis.

 

My program in Malaysia will include meetings with Prime Minister Mahathir and senior Malaysian Ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdullah Badawi and Education Minister Najib.

 

On 23 July I will address the Malaysia -Australia Business Council Gala Dinner where the guests will include the Minister for Entrepreneur Development, Mustapa Mohamed, and Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Kerk Choo Ting. The Minister for International Trade and Industry, Rafidah Aziz, will give the opening address.

 

My visit to Hong Kong, from 24 to 25 July, will provide an opportunity to reassess the impact of the regional economic crisis on Hong Kong and the impact this might have on Australian trade.

 

While in Hong Kong I will meet the Chief Executive, Tung Chee Hwa; the newly elected President of the Legislative Council, Mrs Rita Fan; the leader of the Democratic Party, the political party with the largest representation in the Legislative Council, Mr Martin Lee; and financial sector representatives.

 

In Hong Kong, I will meet members of the Support Australia Group which includes among other organisations, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and the Australian Chinese Association of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is host to Australia’s largest expatriate community in Asia - over 30,000 Australians - and more than 350 Australian companies are represented there.

 

From 26 to 29 July I will visit Manila, the Philippines, to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC). These meetings represent two of the most important events on Australia’s foreign policy calendar.

 

All ASEAN Foreign Ministers and the Foreign Ministers of other key East Asia/Pacific countries including the United States, Japan, China and Korea will be in Manila.

 

The multilateral meetings provide an excellent opportunity to discuss with all the key regional players the major issues in our region, including the East Asian economic crisis and South Asian nuclear testing.

 

The ARF will address regional security implications of these and other regional developments and membership. In addition it will consider the recommendations for further cooperation, including in defence-related areas, emerging from its intersessional group on Confidence Building Measures, which Australia has co-chaired with Brunei over the last year.

 

The PMC also includes an ASEAN-Australia bilateral meeting where the focus will be on trade issues and regional developments.

 

I will hold bilateral meetings with many of my counterpart Ministers in the margins of these meetings which will cover not o nly bilateral issues but also international and regional developments.

 

While I am in Manila I will also launch a festival of Australia in the Philippines: All the Best - from Australia . The festival of Australian culture, sport, technology and business will be Australia’s contribution to the celebrations marking this year’s Centenary of Philippines Independence.

 

Media Inquiries:

Innes Willox:  0419 206 890

Tony Melville:  (02) 6261 1555

 

 

 

JS