The upcoming Russia-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, scheduled to be held in Malaysia in December, will be critical for Russia in developing mutually beneficial cooperation with the Asian bloc, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
The development of such cooperation was a top priority in Russia's foreign policy, Lavrov said in his article published in the November issue of the magazine "Russia and the APR (Asia Pacific Region)", the Itar-Tass news agency said on Thursday.
Lavrov said one reason for Russia's approach was the fact that "the organization has asserted itself during its more than thirty year history as one of the poles of influence in the Asia Pacific Region and a center of development of regional integration processes."
The summit and the Russia-ASEAN business forum" will open additional possibilities for diversification of the dialogue, give a strong impulse to deepening the relations of state structures and between representatives of business and public circles, figures of science and culture," Lavrov said.
Demonstrating goodwill towards the sub-region, Russia "joined in 2004 the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation in South East Asia, a fundamental regional act, in which China, India, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, New Zealand and Mongolia take part along with the ASEAN countries," Lavrov continued.
This "testifies to the fact that the Russia-ASEAN partnership is becoming an influential factor in securing peace and stability in the APR," he noted.
Lavrov also emphasized that this was "principally important from the point of view of using possibilities of regional cooperation for solving social-economic tasks of Russia."
ASEAN is a bloc comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. Russia, the United States, China, India, Japan and the European Union are partners of it.
The summit in December will be the first time Russian leaders have held a joint meeting with ASEAN country leaders.