The foreign minister arrived in Malaysia on Sunday as part of a post-Brexit effort to strengthen ties with leaders beyond Europe. On a mission to strengthen Britain’s “economic and security relations” with the Indo-Pacific region, she will then travel to Thailand and Indonesia.
Ms. Truss had talks with Ismail Sabri, the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia; Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chief Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
As expected, talks focused on “greater technological collaboration,” a topic Ms Truss addressed ahead of the trip.
Ms Truss said: “We are focusing on the opportunities of the future, such as technology.”
She added: “With the digital revolution only gaining momentum as a result of the pandemic, we want to team up with like-minded partners to form a coalition of tech revolutionaries.”
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They also discussed deepening “economic ties”, including the UK’s intention to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade group with no free movement of people. , formed by Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile. , Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam.
Ms. Truss began the process of joining the agreement when she was Secretary of International Trade.
Today, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, she is making progress on what she laid the foundation for.
Insiders say Truss’ tour of South East Asia, which comes fairly early in his tenure, demonstrates the importance she places on the region at a time when UK relations with the EU are fragile .
Ms Truss, who stressed that Indonesia, not Germany, will be the world’s fourth largest economy by 2050, made it clear that she sees great potential in revitalizing ties with nations and nations. regions beyond Europe.
She stressed that Brexit had given the UK the independence it needed to maintain its relations with the world’s fastest growing economies, as they had so far been “undernourished”.
Truss said in a statement ahead of the tour: âI want to position Britain where the future growth is and think about who our main partners will be in 2050 and beyond.
âSouth East Asia will be the engine of the global economy and I want Britain to be a part of it, improving our economic and security relationship with the region to reflect its growing importance.
“Deeper ties are win-win, providing jobs and opportunities for the British while ensuring an open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
âWorking with key Southeast Asian partners will help us promote freedom and democracy around the world. “
This comes at a critical time for UK-EU relations, with an increased prospect of the UK triggering Article 16 and a trade war between the two sides.