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January 21, 2019

Malaysian envoy urges ASEAN missions to strengthen ties with Kenya, EAC

Representatives show the iconic ASEAN handshake in Nairobi
Representatives show the iconic ASEAN handshake in Nairobi

Malaysia High Commissioner to Kenya Loh Sek Tiong has urged the ASEAN member states in Kenya to strengthen their ties in Kenya and the East African region.

Speaking during the 51st commemoration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations establishment at his residence in Nairobi on Wednesday, Ambassador Tong said, "Member states resident in Kenya should reflect on the progress made on the aims and purposes of ASEAN, and work closely together to explore ways to further strengthen and promote the ASEAN presence and portfolio in Kenya and the region as a whole."

ASEAN is an international organisation comprising 10 Southeast Asian countries, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and enhances economic, political security, military educational, and sociocultural integration amongst its members and other Asian states.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, bilateral relations between Kenya and Asian countries have been on an upward trajectory as evidenced by the exchange of high-level visits, both to Nairobi and to the region’s capitals, foreign direct investments, infrastructure development, cooperation on security matters, technology transfer and capacity building.

"I intend to visit parts of Asia and will advise in the coming days on how to leverage on your support for the mutual benefit of our countries and peoples," Monica Juma said on February 26.

The government appears key on economic engagement with Asian states. CS Juma said Kenya's bilateral relations will focus on the Big Four agenda.

"Indeed, the Asia-Pacific region has the capacity to impact on all sectors of economic development across the country, be it mining in Kakamega and Kwale, boats in Lamu, Avocados in central Kenya, flowers, animals and meat, ICT, health, security, infrastructure, among others," she said

"Development in this region presents immense opportunities for Kenya, particularly as we align ourselves with the Big Four agenda, which forms the main focus of this administration for the next five years.

Kenya intends to open a resident mission in Jakarta and consulates in Mumbai, Guangzhou and Shanghai in China.

High Commissioner Loh Seck Tiong hailed the 51 years of ASEAN establishment as a significant milestone to the regional group. He acknowledged the community’s progress over the years has been outstanding as evidenced by the continued peace, stability and security enjoyed in the region as well as the rapid growth and development that had enabled ASEAN to emerge as an important global economic player.

The ceremony was attended by all ASEAN diplomatic mission’s representatives in Nairobi;  Philippines Ambassador Uriel Norman Garibay, Ambassador of the Philippines, Thailand Ambassador Cherdkiat Atthakor and Indonesia Deputy Head of Mission Tamel Vinsen Sinabutar.

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