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KUALA LUMPUR, May 16. /TASS/. Malaysia considers Russia as a strategic partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with which it is necessary to develop closer economic ties, Director-General of the ASEAN-Malaysia National Secretariat of the Foreign Ministry Jojie Samuel said in an exclusive interview with TASS on Monday.
"The potential of our cooperation is huge. We indeed view Russia as our strategic partner," Samuel said, adding that economy is the most promising area of cooperation.
"We would like to move towards increasing the level of our relations, especially in economy and investments," Samuel said. Since 2011, Russia is ASEAN’s eighth largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching $22.5 bln in 2014, he said.
"You export goods to our market more than we do to your market. This state of affairs allows speaking about the existing huge potential in the area of economic cooperation," he said.
The upcoming Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi will also talk security issues at the global and regional levels. "We would like to discuss the issues related to the regional architecture of security. In particular, the situation on the Korean Peninsula." "The issue of North Korea’s implementing its nuclear program needs to be discussed at the negotiating table. Here we see that Moscow’s role is rather significant," he said.
The Russia-ASEAN summit will be held in Sochi on May 19-20 and will become the biggest international event in Russia in 2016. The summit will be held under the slogan "Towards Strategic Partnership for the Sake of the Common Good."
The summit is expected to adopt a declaration that will lay the basis for an action plan of Russia-ASEAN cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres, as well as in the sphere of security.
Russia has been a dialog partner of ASEAN since July 1996. Similar partnership summits are normally held on the territory of member-states and the choice of Sochi as venue for the Russia-ASEAN summit on the partnership’s 20th anniversary is symbolic.