Your Excellency Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi,
Madame Megawati Sukarnoputri, Chairperson of the Meeting,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am greatly delighted and honored to share my views on the future of the relations between the ASEAN and Japan. Once again, I would like to echo H.E. Junichiro Koizumi, that the ASEAN-Japan relationship has been a sincere and openpartnership among nations that act together and advance together.
The proposed Tokyo Declaration for a dynamic and enduring ASEAN-Japan Partnership in the New Millennium and its Action Plan that we are going to adopt during this Summit will guide the strategic partnership between Japan and ASEAN in the 21st century.
I am convinced that in the long run our cooperation within the ASEAN+3 framework will evolve gradually into an East Asian process that will help attain our shared goal of sustainable development and common prosperity.
Political and Security Relations
The ASEAN-Japan strategic partnership is critical to ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in the region. In this regard, Cambodia warmly welcomes Japan’s intention of accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. We sincerely appreciate Japan’s role in strengthening regional security and stability, and in promoting regional development.
On this basis, I would like to see more coordination of positions between ASEAN and Japan on regional and global issues. This requires us to look forward to enhancing our cooperation in political and security matters so as to consolidate regional peace and security, and especially working together in the peaceful settlement of regional disputes, bilaterally or through the ASEAN Regional Forum and other regional and international fora.
The heart of our partnership is the “Initiative for ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership“, proposed by H.E. Koizumi in 2002. This initiative, which is projected to be realized by 2012, will promote not only the liberalization of investment and trade in goods and services, but also encourages advanced cooperation in a wide range of fields, from tourism to human resources development and the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises.
I would like to thank Japan for granting special and differential treatment to the ASEAN Member-Countries and taking into account the economic level and sensitive sectors in each ASEAN member country and Japan, including the extension, by another five years, of the deadline for completion by the new ASEAN Member Countries of their existing commitments.
I am encouraged by the emergence of new areas of cooperation, particularly in science and technology, including research and development, industrial development, tourism, and in ensuring safe and efficient transport networks. At the same time, I believe that strengthening our financial and monetary cooperation in areas such as capital market development, capital account liberalization and currency cooperation will create a new era of financial cooperation between ASEAN and Japan.
I take this opportunity to reiterate Cambodia’s full support for the “Koizumi Initiative-IDEA” and Japan’s “Initiative for Reinforcing ASEAN Integration”. I share H.E. Koizumi’s view that foreign direct investment, market integration, trade and investment, in conjunction with Official Development Assistance, play a significant role in the economic development of the ASEAN countries, especially for the new members. I am pleased that we have implemented the good tradition of East Asia where countries at different levels of economic development help and complement each other. In this regard, I am grateful to Japan for supporting the full implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), including Japan’s continuing assistance for the development of infrastructure, human resources and information and communication technology (ICT) in ASEAN, especially in the newer member countries.
While we thank Japan for taking concrete steps to support the development in the GMS, such as the first East West Economic Corridor, connecting Viet Nam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar and the Second East West Corridor which will connect Cambodia with her neighbors by the Neak Loeung Bridge. I would like to propose that Japan also consider contributing to the building of ASEAN’s rail links, especially in the construction of the missing rail link between Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City.
Overall, I would like to emphasize that GMS programs are of vital importance to us, because they help bridge the gaps in the development status among the members of the ASEAN – especially the newer members. In this sense, I highly appreciate the decision of Japan in attaching priority to this important program and its commitment to enhancing partnership with donors and other international institutions concerned including the ADB, the World Bank, ESCAP and the Mekong River Commission.
Social and Cultural Relations
At present, when ASEAN and Japan are entering upon a new stage in our history of cooperation for a shared peace, stability and prosperity, trust between our people is essential. Only trust that can ensure to build a foundation of shared knowledge, understanding and appreciation of regional and community identity, especially our ties of regional history and the awareness of the heritage and culture of each nation.
To this end, we need to project our cooperation to the world beyond, through the hubs of international media, linked to the centers of global political and economic power, to those who make decisions in investment, trade and tourism. Therefore, we must strengthen cooperation among our representative institutions, public information agencies and all other media units and thereby harness and more efficiently use information and communications technology in disseminating information about ASEAN and Japan in our countries and in the international arena.
Thus, we need an Action Plan with concrete projects that benefit both ASEAN and Japan. We must also strengthen the existing funding mechanisms for effective coordination and implementation of the Declaration and the Action Plan. In this sense, I welcome Japan’s commitment to providing additional resources required for the above objective.