History of ASEAN — Russia Dialogue Partnership

Dialogue ASEAN — Russia was launched in July 1991 when Russian representatives where invited by the Malaysian Government to attend an ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. Russia was subsequently elevated to a full Dialogue Partner of ASEAN in July 1996 at the 29th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Russia's accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (1976) on 29 November 2004 marked a milestone in ASEAN — Russia dialogue relations. This document serves as a political declaration on the norms and principles of relations among countries in the region and contains the obligation that the contracting parties are not to participate in any manner or form in any activity which may constitute a threat to the political and economic stability of another contracting party.

In 2004, at an ASEAN — Russia Foreign Ministers' Meeting a Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism was adopted, a Work Plan on Countering Terrorism and Transnational Crime was drafted and adopted, and a dialogue on this issue at the senior official and expert level was initiated.

The key areas of cooperation between Russia and the ASEAN Member States were set out in the Agreement between the Governments of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Government of the Russian Federation on Economic and Development Cooperation that was signed in 2005 during the leaders' meeting in Kuala Lumpur. The Agreement guarantees favourable conditions for promoting economic cooperation as well as cooperation in trade, investment, research, technology and culture. The Comprehensive Programme of Action to Promote Cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Russian Federation 2005-2015, was adopted on 13 December 2005 to strengthen and promote ASEAN — Russia dialogue, with the parties approving a roadmap for the implementation of this programme.

In keeping with a resolution adopted at a ASEAN — Russia Foreign Ministers' Meeting in 2013, the work to prepare a new cooperation programme for 2016-2020 began.

In 2009, the Russian President issued an executive order instituting the position of a Russian permanent representative to ASEAN. Since 2012, the position has been held by Mikhail Galuzin.

The first ASEAN — Russia consultations at the level of ministers of the economy were held on 24 August 2010 in Da Nang, Vietnam. During the meeting, the ministers explored ways to enhance cooperation with a view to promoting trade, energy efficiency, SME development, food security and tourism. In 2012 in Manila, the Philippines, during a regular session of the ASEAN — Russia Senior Economic Officials' Consultations, the final version of the ASEAN — Russia Trade and Investment Cooperation Roadmap was adopted. It included cooperation in five key areas: high-level dialogue; senior economic officials' consultations; sector-specific dialogues between Russian and ASEAN representatives; streamlining procedures related to trade and investment; and promoting dialogue with the business community. In October 2012, ministers of the economy of Russia and ASEAN Member States approved the roadmap. A Work Programme to implement this roadmap was later drafted and signed, encompassing various areas of trade and economic cooperation such as facilitating and liberalising trade and investment procedures, energy resources, developing supply chains, SMEs, tourism, human capital, and intellectual property creation.

In 2014, the ASEAN — Russia trade turnover reached $22.5 billion, while Russia's foreign direct investment in the region came in at $698 million in 2012-2014.

The energy industry is among the promising areas of cooperation between Russia and the ASEAN Member States. The ASEAN — Russia Energy Cooperation Work Programme for 2010-2015 reflected the fact that Russia and the ASEAN Member States were committed and open to developing alternative and renewable energy sources, increasing production and energy consumption infrastructure, peaceful use of nuclear power, and working together in searching for coal, oil and gas deposits.

Tourism is another promising area of ASEAN — Russia cooperation. In 2014, there were 2.37 million visits from Russian tourists to ASEAN Member States. The Dialogue Partnership provides a framework for developing mechanisms that would increase tourism and regular expert consultations are held to discuss this. Specifically, Laos hosted in January 2013 the 4th ASEAN — Russia Tourism Consultation, which featured discussions on Russia's proposal to develop guidelines for the relevant tourism authorities and organisations on how security and risk management can be improved in the travel industry.

ASEAN is also committed to promoting cultural cooperation with Russia. Specifically, the ASEAN — Russia Intergovernmental Agreement on Cultural Cooperation was signed during the Second ASEAN — Russia Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, in October 2010. The document is aimed at expanding cooperation and cultural exchanges related to music, theatre, archives, libraries, museums, cultural heritage, dance, visual arts, film industry, copyright protection, folk crafts, decorative and applied arts and circus. In addition, to highlight 20 years of Dialogue Partnership, ASEAN and Russia have designated 2016 as the ASEAN — Russia Year of Culture.

Joint projects implemented as part of the cooperation between Russia and ASEAN Member States are funded by the ASEAN — Russia Dialogue Partnership Financial Fund (ARDPFF) established in June 2007.

In July 2009, a Memorandum on the establishment of The ASEAN Centre within MGIMO University was signed in order to promote personal contact, student and academic exchange, facilitate joint research projects and serve as a reference point for information about ASEAN and Russia. The ASEAN Centre was officially launched on 15 June 2010. The ASEAN Centre spearheaded the project to hold the First ASEAN — Russia Youth Summit in Moscow in May 2013. The Second Youth Summit took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in October 2014, and Vladivostok, Russia hosted the Third Youth Summit in October 2015.

The foreign ministers of Russia and the ASEAN Member States reached an agreement in 2015 on establishing an ASEAN — Russia Eminent Persons Group that included representatives of diplomatic, academic and business circles. The goal of the group is to analyse relations between the Russian Federation and the ASEAN Member States and determine the strategic vision of their dialogue partnership for the future. The group will submit its final report to the leaders of the participating states at the ASEAN — Russia Commemorative Summit 2016 in Sochi.