March 21, 2018

Myanmar delegation led by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has attended the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit held in Sydney on 17 - 18 March 2018 and paid an official visit to the Commonwealth of Australia on 19-20 March at the invitation of the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia.

 The State Counsellor, together with other ASEAN leaders, attended the related events of ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, ASEAN-Australia Special Summit’s Plenary Meeting and Leaders’ Retreat held from 17 to 18 March 2018.

The State Counsellor apprised the meetings on the complexities of Myanmar’s democratic transition, peace and national reconciliation as well as challenges including the situation in Rakhine State, and stressed the need to help Myanmar to help itself in resolving these challenges, especially in strengthening human resource development.

 The State Counsellor also emphasized that with a view to facilitate ASEAN integration, it is important not only to narrow the development gap among member States, but also to bridge the gap in their perceptions on the challenges. She also stressed the need for peace makers to be first at peace with themselves and to cope with the emotion of hate, anger and fear and urged that in countering terrorism, member States need to address those negative emotions which create divisions between different communities. She also highlighted the need to maintain ASEAN’s unity, consensus approach and mutual respect among member States.

During the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, an MOU on Cooperation to Counter International Terrorism was signed between ASEAN and Australia, as well as a Sydney Declaration was adopted outlining to promote cooperation between ASEAN and Australia under 3 pillars such as Regional Security, Future Prosperity and People.

 In the evening of 18 March, State Counsellor and Party left Sydney to Canberra by air to pay an official visit to Australia at the invitation of the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia.

On 19 March, State Counsellor attended the welcoming Ceremony by the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia and held the bilateral talks with Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull. During the meeting, the two sides discussed in further promoting bilateral relations, trade and investment, and the continued provision of assistance to Myanmar in capacity building projects including in education sector and in resolving the situation in Rakhine State. State Counsellor also received Mr. Bill Shorten, Leader of the Australian Labour Party, and planted a tree at the National Arboretum in commemoration of her official visit to Australia. In the afternoon, State Counsellor met with Myanmar Community in Australia at Albert Hall.

The State Counsellor successfully attended all major official functions during the official visit. Some of the scheduled appointments, however, have to be cancelled as it is necessary for the State Counsellor to take rest for her return trip to Myanmar as she suffered acutely from motion sickness due to long air journey and boat trip.

 The State Counsellor and Party arrived back to Nay Pyi Taw by air in the evening of 20 March 2018.