MOSCOW, May 19. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin opens on Thursday a two-day Russia-ASEAN summit, hosting a reception for the guests of the summit that marks 20 years of dialog partnership.
Prior to that, the president will meet with ASEAN leaders with trade and economic cooperation in the focus at all talks. The Russian leader already met on Wednesday with President of Indonesia Joko Widodo.
Talks with Myanmar’s President Htin Kyaw will be first on Putin’s agenda. It will be the first Russian visit of the Myanmar head of state. Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov said the two leaders would discuss topical issues on bilateral agenda, focusing on investment cooperation, as well as will exchange opinions on regional issues.
He said the two countries had fairly good prospects in cooperation in such sectors as civil aviation, mineral production, transport, telecommunications and energy. "Political and social-economic reforms carried out in Myanmar open new possibilities for the development of cooperation in different sectors," he said.
After that, the Russian leader will speak with Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah to exchange views on prospects for expanding cooperation in the political, trade-and-economic and humanitarian spheres.
Ushakov said that trade and economic cooperation with Brunei was lagging behind political cooperation. However, steps have been made to intensify efforts in counteracting new threats and challenges.
Ushakov listed the energy sector, infrastructural construction and agriculture as spheres having good potentials. Joint effort to fight new challenges and threats, practical cooperation in supplies of military products, calling of Russian naval ships at Brunei ports, joint exercises with anti-piracy drills among them were also mentioned as spheres of special attention.
At talks with Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Russian leader plans to focus on military-technical and humanitarian spheres apart from trade and economic partnership. Russia’s Gazprom, Novatek and Rosneft are interested in cooperation in the field of LNG, oil and oil products supplies and joint implementation of production and feedstock processing projects, Ushakov added.
Also on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin will meet Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. They will discuss implementation of the previously reached at the summit level agreements to boost cooperation in the trade, economic, investment, military, military-technical and humanitarian spheres. The settlement of Cambodia’s debt to Russia worth $1.52 billion will also be on the agenda, the Kremlin aide said.
Talks will Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak will be devoted to implementation of investment projects in the energy sector, ways to expand military-technical cooperation as well as cultural and humanitarian ties. Despite a decline in trade last year, the energy sector has good prospects, Ushakov noted.
The Russian president will also meet with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc who has been on his official first visit to Russia since May 16. Ushakov said the two leaders plan to exchange views on the current state of and prospects for the development of Russian-Vietnamese relations and strategic partnership. Priority attention will be focused on trade-and-economic ties as Vietnam ranks first among the ASEAN nations in terms of trade with Russia. One of the tasks is to bring bilateral trade to $10 billion in 2020. Ushakov also marked the role of the agreement on free trade between the Eurasian Economic Union and Vietnam last year in the development of partnership.
Putin’s next meeting will be with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. They are expected to discuss ways to restore trade and economic cooperation that faced difficulties last year when Russia’s trade with Singapore shrank by more than 50%, to $3 billion. However, investment cooperation develops successfully, with the amount of Singapore’s direct investment in Russia making up about $1 billion. Russia’s investment in Singapore makes up $2.5 billion.
Russia and Singapore also cooperate in the humanitarian sector. A Russian cultural center with a Russian Orthodox church, that is to be built in Singapore shortly, is expected to make a major contribution to this cooperation. Putin and Lee Hsein Loong will meet in the afternoon, while in the morning the Singaporean prime minister will have talks with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
The final on the list of talks will be Putin’s meeting with Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulit. Laos currently holds the rotating presidency of ASEAN. Plans are to discuss ways to restore trade that declined by 58% last year, to $16.5 million. The two countries have potentials in concrete projects. The construction of Xekong 5 hydropower station can become the biggest cooperation project which is estimated at $800 million. This project will help Laos win leading positions on the regional market of electricity.
The Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) includes Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. A Russia-ASEAN summit takes place in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on May 19-20. It is expected to be the biggest international forum 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 ASEAN’s dialogue partner of ASEAN since July 1996.