Trilateral Strategic Dialogue
June 27, 2008
The Foreign Minister of Australia, Mr. Stephen Smith, the Foreign Minister of Japan, Mr. Masahiko Koumura, and the Secretary of State of the United States, Dr. Condoleezza Rice met in Kyoto on June 27, 2008 for the third ministerial meeting of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue to exchange views on both regional and global issues of mutual interest, and discussed ways to further trilateral cooperation. The three countries are committed to working together as close strategic partners to help promote stability and security globally, with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region.
The three Ministers shared the view that the Asia-Pacific region, while undergoing a dynamic change in political and economic terms, is faced with a wide range of security challenges, both traditional and non-traditional, such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and responding to natural disasters. The three Ministers underlined the importance of meeting theses challenges by promoting cooperation between Australia, Japan and the United States thereby ensuring peace and prosperity in the region and beyond. This cooperation between the partners supports and complements the activities undertaken within the existing regional architecture and our efforts to strengthen the existing regional architecture.
Welcoming the candid discussions held at the senior officials' meetings and the progress made in trilateral cooperation, they confirmed their commitment to further strengthen trilateral initiatives in the following areas. They also indicated their desire that cooperation continue to be forward-looking and responsive to emerging security issues.
Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief
Recognizing the importance of advancing international cooperation in responding to natural disasters and humanitarian crises, the three Ministers welcomed the advancement of trilateral cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as annexed to this Joint Statement. The three Ministers committed to finalize the guidelines for the implementation of the Joint Statement. Japan and the United States welcomed Australia's offer to host the first meeting of disaster relief officials possibly in November this year.
Recognizing the importance of advancing international cooperation in combating terrorism, the three Ministers welcomed that the Trilateral Counter-Terrorism Consultations have produced a number of positive collaborative activities, including information exchange and coordinated capacity building activities for Southeast Asian countries such as the Trilateral Philippine Pilot Port Project. Ministers also acknowledged recent efforts to address the threat of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism, to combat terrorist financing, and to promote counter radicalization.
Southeast Asia Cooperation
Recognizing the importance of stability in Southeast Asia for the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region, the three Ministers confirmed their commitment to explore trilateral regional cooperation.
Pacific Working Group
Welcoming the successful Working Group in April this year, the three Ministers decided to step up their efforts to assist Pacific island countries' efforts to promote peace and prosperity in the region. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to ensure better development outcomes for Pacific Island countries through discussion and collaboration.
Security and Defense Cooperation
Welcoming that the Security and Defense Cooperation Forum has been actively working to increase inter-operability among the three countries, especially in the area of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the three Ministers confirmed their commitment to further enhance their partnership through practical cooperation, which includes holding air mobility seminars, and participating in humanitarian activities by US medical ships and Proliferation Security Initiative exercises.
The three Ministers reaffirmed the value of regularly holding the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue at the ministerial level to enhance trilateral coordination and cooperation.
Trilateral Strategic Dialogue Joint Statement Annex;
Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief
in the Asia Pacific Region: Trilateral Cooperation
At the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue ministerial meeting in Kyoto on June 27, 2008, the Foreign Minister of Australia, Mr. Stephen Smith, the Foreign Minister of Japan, Mr. Masahiko Koumura and the Secretary of State of the United States, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, discussed ways to enhance practical trilateral cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the Asia-Pacific region.
The ministers recalled that Australia, Japan and the United States have a strong record in responding to natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies, as demonstrated in the wake of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and other more recent events. They committed to build on this, trilaterally and in conjunction with relevant regional and international arrangements, to strengthen cooperation on disaster management and emergency response.
The ministers decided that the three countries would develop arrangements to exchange information to ensure best use of assets and other resources in preparing for and responding to natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies in the region. While recognizing that each country would retain the prerogative to respond as it saw fit, they shared the view that there was value in aligning emergency response efforts and where appropriate in undertaking such efforts jointly.
Specifically, the ministers decided that the trilateral partners would identify contact points for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief officials, and that these officials would meet at a technical level to review and discuss practical trilateral cooperation and to share information on lessons learned. They also decided that the three countries should conduct exercises to build understanding of respective emergency response procedures and capabilities.
The ministers directed relevant officials to develop guidelines to facilitate this trilateral cooperation and information-sharing on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
In discussing these issues, the ministers recognized that national governments have primary responsibility for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief within their national jurisdictions, and that any help rendered by the trilateral partners would be in support and at the request of the governments and countries affected.
They also made clear that trilateral cooperation on disaster management and emergency response was intended to complement and reinforce the work of relevant regional and international arrangements, including bodies such as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Australia, Japan and the United States will continue to work closely with such bodies, and national partners in the Asia-Pacific region, to strengthen collaborative humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mechanisms.
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