Brussels [Belgium], June 4 (ANI): European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Thursday said the European bloc will promote multilateral cooperation, work on global challenges, from the pandemic to climate, and will deepen its security arrangement in the Indo-Pacific.
The Indo-Pacific region is the second-largest destination for EU exports. It constitutes 60 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and it is home to four out of the top 10 EU trading partners.
Speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Borrell said the EU's new strategy aims to deepen regional integration and is inclusive for all partners in the region wishing to cooperate with the EU, including China.
"We do not aim to create rival blocs or force countries to take sides, and want to deepen our cooperation with democratic, like-minded partners. The EU's commitment to democratic rights and fundamental freedoms is very strong. Not because we see these as European or Western constructs. But because these values and principles are universal," he said.
He also said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is at the heart of the EU's Indo Pacific strategy, where it will develop closer relations with other regional organisations of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
He also cited the EU-ASEAN Strategic Partnership as a sign that both sides want to scale up and re-direct our cooperation, adding that the EU is also exploring options on how to enhance its maritime presence in the vast Indo-Pacific space, noting that 40 per cent of the EU's foreign trade passes through the South China Sea.
"The Indo Pacific region is the future, but insecurity and tensions are rising, threatening the order and balance of this dynamic region. The key point to make here is that economic growth of this region rests on openness, on stable and shared rules, and shared security," Borrell said in his remarks.
He also mentioned that the EU favours a sustainable and rules-based approach to connectivity, built around transparency, local ownership and fiscal and environmental sustainability.
"...the EU is an economic super-power. We have a record of economic openness and development assistance. And we are ready to continue on that path with you in ASEAN. To build a recovery that benefits our peoples," the top EU diplomat said.
Stressing the need for the EU to engage more in and with the Indo-Pacific, Borrell further said that it and ASEAN are natural partners. (ANI)