Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Cabinet Office, Department for Business and Trade, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, Nigel Huddleston MP, George Freeman MP, The Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, and Will Quince MP

Secretary General of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) His Excellency Dr Kao Kim Hourn is visiting the UK to further the ASEAN-UK Partnership.

  • The Secretary General of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) will meet senior leaders from Government, business, and academia to advance ASEAN-UK Cooperation
  • Discussions will focus on priority areas outlined in ASEAN strategies including in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and reflected in the 2022-2026 ASEAN-UK Plan of Action.

The Secretary General of ASEAN Dr Kao Kim Hourn begins a three day visit to the UK today (1 November), during which he will discuss the breadth of the ASEAN-UK relationship with Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and four other UK Ministers. It will mark the first time the Secretary General has visited any European country in his role.

With Indo-Pacific Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Secretary General will discuss the UK and ASEAN’s shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific and the UK’s bids to join regional security and defence organisations. The Minister and Secretary General will join a maritime roundtable to discuss a new UK-ASEAN Maritime Programme to boost regional resilience in responding to maritime challenges.

ASEAN-UK cooperation on science, technology and health will also be celebrated at a reception hosted by Minister for Health and Secondary Care Will Quince and Minister for Science, Research and Innovation George Freeman.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said:

The UK’s relationship with ASEAN is central to our long-term commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. As an ASEAN Dialogue Partner, we are growing our trading links - worth over £46bn a year - and deepening cooperation on areas like cyber security and resilience. I was delighted to further this work with Deputy Secretary-General Michael Tene in Jakarta in September, and today with Secretary-General Dr Kao Kim Hourn in London.

Minister for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:

Our Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN provides boundless opportunities to collaborate with our friends in Southeast Asia.

Through the ASEAN–UK Plan of Action we are developing programmes of cooperation to advance a wide range of shared goals, from economic reform and financial sector development to maritime sustainability and adapting to climate change. We look forward to further deepening our friendship over the many years to come.

The Secretary General will also meet UK Government International Education Champion Sir Steve Smith and British Council CEO Scott McDonald to discuss the UK’s International Education Strategy and creative economies, and support for advancing girls’ education in the region. During the visit, the UK will announce 10 new UK-ASEAN Scholarships for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and an ASEAN Chevening Programme to be launched in 2024.

Infrastructure, trade and supply chain resilience will also be an important focus of the visit. The Secretary General will meet Minister of State for International Trade Nigel Huddleston to discuss UK-ASEAN trade including cooperation on digitalisation and financial services. He will also visit Battersea Power Station and the London Stock Exchange and discuss opportunities for strengthening UK-ASEAN collaboration with senior leaders in business, including the UK-ASEAN Business Council, think tanks and academia.

The visit follows the Foreign Secretary’s travel to the ASEAN Foreign Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta in July, where he met ASEAN Leaders including the Secretary General, and the Minister of State for International Trade’s attendance at the Third ASEAN Economic Ministers-UK Consultation in August.

The UK became an ASEAN Dialogue Partner in 2021, in recognition of the bloc’s central role promoting co-operation and shaping the wider Indo-Pacific regional order.

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