The UK Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, has visited Brunei and Thailand for security talks.
As Britain seeks to deepen its ties with countries across Southeast Asia, Trevelyan spent a week trying to build closer links on trade, security and science.
In Bangkok, the Minister hosted humanitarian groups for discussions about the situation in neighbouring Myanmar.
The crisis has caused hundreds of thousands of victims to be displaced, including over the border into Thailand, fleeing the military junta’s violence.
The UK is one of the largest humanitarian donors with long-established programmes in the southeast of Myanmar and along the Thai border, supporting refugees with healthcare, shelter and sanitation.
Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “As two key members of ASEAN, Brunei and Thailand are vital partners for the UK as we deepen our ties across Southeast Asia.
“From trade and tech to science and security, we are determined to do more together, reaping the benefits at home and across the region”.
While in the Thai capital, the Minister also met her counterpart Vice Foreign Minister Dr Vijavat Isarabhakdi. Topics covered pressing regional and global issues.
Thailand is an essential partner for the UK, with 2-way trade standing at over £5 billion, with more than 5,000 UK businesses exporting to Thailand, benefiting both countries.
The Government also recently signed a new partnership with Thailand to share expertise of genome sequencing, collaborate in research and education, and help prevent, diagnose and treat major diseases.
Earlier in the week, the Minister was in Brunei for the UK-Brunei Strategic Dialogue alongside Second Foreign Minister Dato Erywan. The Minister was also granted an audience with His Majesty the Sultan.
The Minister saw work to conserve Brunei’s tropical rainforests in action with a visit to the Kuala Belalong Field Centre, established during a joint expedition of the UK’s Royal Geographical Society and the University of Brunei Darussalam.
During the visit the Minister met British researchers working side-by-side with their Bruneian counterparts to study and conserve the rainforest’s diverse wildlife.
The Indo-Pacific is home to likeminded partners with whom the UK shares fundamental beliefs in peace and democracy as well as many of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
The region is critical to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s commitment to economic growth and building prosperity, with a stronger economy at home forming the foundation of the UK’s strength abroad.