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Indonesia wants Australia to be part of ASEAN

16 March 2018

It's focused on helping Australian businesses export to the region and adapt to technological changes. "Sure, it will be better" for the region.

AUSTRALIA'S promise to raise human rights concerns with Burma (Myanmar) and Cambodian leaders when they attend the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Sydney this weekend doesn't go far enough, according to Human Rights Watch.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was "very warmed" by Widodo's comments, but stressed "Asean matters are matters for Asean". Without a clear and unambiguous message, the invite to the summit and the welcome from the Australian Prime Minister "will only give more legitimacy to these leaders", she said.

As a bloc, ASEAN countries make up Australia's third-largest trading partner, worth nearly $100 billion in 2016-2017.

"Australia believes its future lies in Asia, took steps to become Asean's first dialogue partner in 1974, and Singapore has taken steps to help keep the region open", said Lee, the 2018 Asean host. Between 2012 and 2020, the ASEAN middle-class would more than double to 400 million people, while more than 90 million people are expected to move to urban areas in Southeast Asia by 2030.

Mr Turnbull's schedule includes bilateral talks with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after the pair dined together on Thursday night.

Widodo, who will reportedly have a private dinner with Turnbull at his harbourside home on Saturday, singled out close co-operation with Canberra on counter-terrorism.

They had hoped to sign a free trade deal on the sidelines of the summit after failing to meet a deadline late previous year but negotiations are ongoing.

AAP understands 95 per cent of the deal has been finalised.

It comes as hundreds of Cambodian expats prepare to rally in Sydney on Friday afternoon to protest against Prime Minister Hun Sen's visit to Australia.

Hun Sen, Cambodia's long-serving leader who had a court dissolve the main opposition party a year ago, has threatened to hunt down and beat anyone who demonstrates against him in Sydney.

Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge general who has ruled Cambodia for more than 30 years, promised to personally attack any demonstrators should they burn effigies or pictures of him, saying: "I will follow you all the way to your doorstep and beat you right there ..."

Ms Bishop said earlier this week that ASEAN is "uniquely placed to continue to promote the worldwide rules-based order within our region" and warned this order was being challenged by "states who cherry-pick what parts. they are prepared to adhere to the parts they are not".

Bou Rochana, whose husband Kem Ley was murdered in a suspected political assassination, will address the protest at Hyde Park.

"The growth and transformation of ASEAN is being driven by expanding cities, a growing consumer base, worldwide connections and digital technologies creating great opportunities for our businesses", said NSW minister for Trade and Industry Niall Blair.

Mr Turnbull said new standards would open up opportunity for businesses, especially SMEs, to take advantage of digital trade in the region.

"The Cambodian government has been getting away with murder", Professor Evans said.

Indonesia wants Australia to be part of ASEAN