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UK to increase maritime security links in Southeast Asia, reopen diplomatic mission in Timor-Leste

Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, is visiting Southeast Asia 29 February-4 March with a focus on maritime security and strengthening the UK's diplomatic network.

  • Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, is visiting Southeast Asia to highlight UK commitments to maritime security and strengthen the UK’s global diplomatic network.
  • The Minister set out how the UK is addressing global threats to maritime security in her pre-recorded keynote speech at the Regional Maritime Security Symposium in Bali. 
  • In Timor-Leste, the Minister will announce the UK’s intention to re-open a permanent diplomatic mission in Dili. 

Global maritime security is under greater threat than ever, UK Minister for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan today (29 February) told a UK-funded conference aimed at boosting vital collaboration between maritime countries in Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines.  

Minister Trevelyan is visiting Indonesia from 28-29 February, the third UK ministerial visit within twelve months as the two countries celebrate their 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations. 

Following her visit to Indonesia the Minister will travel to Timor-Leste on 1 March, where alongside Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão she will announce the UK’s intention to re-open a permanent diplomatic mission in Dili, the Timorese capital. The decision builds on existing UK commitments to support Timor-Leste’s development, including the UK’s public backing for Timor-Leste’s accession to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

UK Minister for the Indo Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: 

The UK is committed to building stronger long-term partnerships in the Indo-Pacific to support maritime and economic security, using our global diplomatic network to support these relationships. 

By sharing expertise, increasing maritime resilience, and looking to expand our diplomatic presence to Timor-Leste, the UK is working to safeguard long-term global security and prosperity.

British Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Dominic Jermey, said:  

As we celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations between the UK and Indonesia, we remain committed to strengthening our partnership with Indonesia to support maritime and regional security. 

I first established the UK Mission to the UN Transitional Administration to East Timor twenty-four years ago, and I am proud that the UK will now look to re-open a permanent presence in Timor-Leste. The UK has become home to the largest Timorese overseas diaspora, and our countries have long been friends. We will support Timor-Leste to continue developing as a stable and prosperous nation.

The Bali Regional Maritime Security Symposium is a week-long event (26 Feb-1 March 2024) delivered and funded by the UK government. It aims to improve collaboration in a range of areas, from maritime law (UNCLOS), maritime domain awareness, port security, the ASEAN Maritime Outlook, through to illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and climate security. 

The Symposium includes participants from ASEAN governments, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei Darussalam.  The Symposium is also joined by observers from countries including the US, Australia, Japan Canada and France. 

Concluding her visit to Southeast Asia, Minister Trevelyan will visit Cambodia from 2-4 March, where she will meet with senior government officials, non-governmental organisations, British businesses, and promote recently launched UK educational institutions in Cambodia.  

Notes to editors 

  • The UK and Indonesia began formal diplomatic relations on 19 December 1949 and will celebrate 75 years of the relationship during 2024. 
  • The British Embassy Jakarta in Indonesia has been responsible for developing and maintaining ties with Timor-Leste since 2006, when the UK Embassy in Dili was closed. Further details on the re-opening of the Embassy will be announced in due course.
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