- The ASEAN leaders today held a series of very productive meetings with the Prime Ministers of Japan, the Republic of Korea and India followed by a briefing by the President of South Africa on behalf of the African Union.
- We thanked Their Majesties King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Monineath SIhanouk for hosting the Royal Banquet last night, and wished Their Majesties continued good health. The ASEAN leaders commended the Royal Government of Cambodia on the hard work and excellent preparations, which ensured a secure and successful 8th ASEAN Summit.
Deepening Cooperation between ASEAN and Japan
- HE Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan raised many important issues with the ASEAN leaders. He affirmed Japan’s continuing support for ASEAN, particularly in implementing the Initiative for Development in East Asia (IDEA), by stressing the close links between official development assistance, foreign direct investment and trade facilitation for developing countries. We welcomed Japan’s offer to host the second IDEA ministerial meeting.
- Prime Minister Koizumi reaffirmed support for fully implementing the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), including the consideration of financing IAI projects under both bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. In addition to the Japan-ASEAN Solidarity Fund and the Japan General Exchange Fund, the Prime Minister voiced support for intensified cooperation in the context of the ASEAN-Japan Exchange Year in 2003. With strong leadership from the Japanese business community, Japan proposed that the exchange year cover a wide range of areas including politics, economics and industry, security, education, science and technology and culture. We expressed hope that the exchange programs and activities will help further build the partnership of “acting together and advancing together” underlined by Prime Minister Koizumi earlier this year.
- We signed the Joint Declaration of the Leaders of ASEAN and Japan on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership to develop a concrete framework to realize such a partnership over the coming year. The declaration recognizes that rapid progress of regional economic integration, especially in Europe and North America, has been promoting the liberalization of world trade in stimulating regional dynamism. Leaders declared that measures to realize the partnership, including elements of a free-trade area, should be fully implemented as soon as possible, within 10 years.
- We observed that Japan has already established an economic partnership agreement with Singapore and is now discussing similar arrangements with the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. We expressed optimism that the partnership will help spur renewed growth across ASEAN. To draft the framework and monitor recent progress in creating bilateral economic partnerships, ASEAN and Japanese leaders decided to set up a committee of senior officials to report back to them next year.
- We expressed deep appreciation for the steadfast cooperation of Japan with ASEAN. We noted that Japan’s assistance to ASEAN, whether bilateral or multilateral, has not declined even in the face of its economic slowdown.
- We expressed appreciation for Prime Minister Koizumi’s recent success in helping to foster the historic Pyongyang Declaration, and encouraged further dialogue between Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
- Prime Minister Koizumi urged the ASEAN leaders to collaborate with Japan in formulating a framework of mutually beneficial cooperation in the 21st century. We accepted his invitation to participate actively and discuss details of future cooperation at the ASEAN-Japan Commemoratives Summit on 11-12 December 2003, In supporting the commemorative summit, leaders agreed to consider holding an investment seminar to promote ASEAN to Japanese investors.
- We tabled some specific additional proposals including official development assistance to help complete the Singapore-Kunming Rail link (SKRL) and other transport networks, the launching of an ASEAN bond market, information technology exchange and e-education and cooperation.
Deepening Cooperation between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea
- During our meeting with HE Prime Minister Kim Suk-Soo of the Republic of Korea, we expressed regret that domestic affairs had prevented President Kim Dae-jung from taking part in this year’s summit.
- Prime Minister Kim congratulated ASEAN for its declaration on terrorism and expressed full support and cooperation with ASEAN’s anti-terrorism efforts.
- We observed that cooperation between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea has deepened since the bilateral partnership was established in 1989, especially in the areas of human resource development as well as trade and investment. The Republic of Korea has specifically made significant contributions to the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Special Cooperation Fund, which focuses on the newer ASEAN members. In addition to trade and human resource development, areas of cooperation include tourism, advanced informational technology and health care.
- ASEAN considers industrial and information technology training programs to be of great and lasting value, along with fellowships in the media and the arts. Such efforts help the newer members bridge the cultural and digital divide in East Asia. A specific project along these lines is the Internet Network and Web Design Training Program, which will be further expanded in the near future.
- In endorsing the Final Report of the East Asia Study Group, we agreed to work on implementing the recommendations to achieve closer economic partnership between the Republic of Korea and ASEAN and help lay foundation for the formation of an East Asia Free Trade Area over the long term. The implementation will particularly consider the work plan and projects under IAI.
- Prime Minister Kim invited the ASEAN leaders to submit specific proposals on projects to enhance cooperation between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea. He expressed interest in supporting the improvement of transport networks in ASEAN and the sustainable development of the areas along the Mekong River. We observed that there remains vast untapped potential in economic relations with the Republic of Korea. In particular, agricultural, trade and investment could be further encouraged.
- Leaders of ASEAN and the Republic of Korea reiterated their concerns about the nuclear weapons program of the DPRK. They reiterated the wish for a non-nuclear Korean peninsula and their commitment to the peaceful resolution of the issue. We look forward to further dialogue at the next ASEAN Regional Forum.
Strengthening the ASEAN-India Cooperation
- The first ASEAN-India Summit took place with HE Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Prime Minister Vajpayee commended ASEAN for its strong stand on nuclear non-proliferation and encouraged members to focus on intra-ASEAN and Asian trade, leading to closer economic partnerships and possibly a free trade agreement within 10 years. The Prime Minister declared India’s willingness to extend special and differential treatment to the new er members, and supported early accession to the World Trade Organization for Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam.
- We noted that trade, investment and human resource development between ASEAN and India have great potential and agreed that concrete cooperation can be expanded in relation to the ASEAN Free Trade Area and the ASEAN Investment Area. We also welcomed India’s support to the IAI Work Plan and related projects.
- ASEAN and India will also work together to broaden and intensify joint efforts in the Mekong Basin, specifically by promoting the Ganga-Mekong Cooperation Swarmaboomi Program and the transport links that span India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam. Such cooperation will further strengthen ASEAN integration. India’s outstanding resources in advanced technology and research in agriculture, biotechnology, remote sensing, information and communications technology, pharmaceuticals and medicine will be of much help, particularly to ASEAN’s newer members.
- Common efforts between ASEAN and India should help eradicate terrorism and transnational crime, particularly the trafficking of drugs, weapons and humans. India congratulated ASEAN for its strong declaration on terrorism and pledged to fully cooperate with ASEAN’s programs to combat terrorism and transnational crime.
- We agreed that cooperation between ASEAN and India should encompass a strategic and political partnership as well as economics and people exchange. We noted that the histories and cultures of Southeast Asia and India are closely intertwined. The intimacy of our past brings the hope that our future is similarly linked to mutual prosperity and stability.
- Accordingly, we agreed that the ASEAN-India Summit will be held every year to deepen the relationship.
ASEAN and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development
- H.E. President Thabo M Mbeki of South Africa gave a special briefing to the ASEAN leaders on the origins and anticipations of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD.) As a leading architect of the initiative, President Mbeki emphasized that it was a program of expressing Africa’s renaissance, a vision to promote peace, stability and rapid socio-economic growth based on joint efforts by Africans themselves. The vehicle for implementing the initiative is the African Union, currently chaired by South Africa.
- President Mbeki recalled the historical roots of cooperation between Asian and Africa in the Bandung Conference in 1955 and the Non-Aligned Movement. He commended ASEAN’s programs in South-South cooperation and determined efforts to promote a regime free of nuclear weapons. He also pledged support for ASEAN’s anti terrorism efforts and expressed agreement with its position that peace in the Middle East must be attained through serious engagement from all parties, and through the established mechanisms of the United Nations.
- ASEAN leaders found much common ground with the aspirations expressed by President Mbeki. The challenges being addressed by Africa are similar to those faced by ASEAN in its early years, and the newer ASEAN members today.
Leaders acknowledged the similar goals and the need for greater interaction including a possible meeting between the two secretariats. President Mbeki expressed the Africa Union’s readiness to embark on cooperation and friendship with ASEAN. In welcoming efforts to implement the African initiative, we agreed to take steps to promote stronger ties between Asia and Africa including an ASEAN-NEPAD conference in the near future.