Following America, China's Rivals Also Promise to Add Dollars for ASEAN

Following America, China's Rivals Also Promise to Add Dollars for ASEAN

The ASEAN Summit became a stage for China's rivals to show their great support for Southeast Asian countries.

Ummatimes - After the United States, Australia also promised to increase contributions in the form of fresh funds and COVID-19 vaccines for countries in the region.

Australia on Wednesday said it would donate an additional 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and offered financial assistance of AUD 124 million (approximately IDR 1.3 trillion).

Additional donations are offered as Canberra seeks to strengthen ties with the region's countries.

While speaking at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed the proposal for a comprehensive strategic agreement with the ten ASEAN member states.

"ASEAN is at the center of the Indo-Pacific and we support it through words as well as concrete steps," Morrison told the group's leaders.

Australia's push for stronger ties with ASEAN comes amid growing concerns about China's movement and influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Morrison said a comprehensive strategic partnership could likely be just a "name" and he therefore encouraged ASEAN to consider positively the proposal, which is aimed at improving relations.

"We will support it with substance that will help our partnership address the difficult issues of the future," Morrison said.

At the virtual summit, Morrison highlighted issues such as COVID-19, transnational crime and energy security when making an offer of AUD 124 million to fund the issue.