The Fifth East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
August 7, 2015
The Fifth East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the afternoon on August 6, 2015. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Minoru Kiuchi attended the meeting. The overview is as follows. (Chairperson: H.E. Dato’ Sri Anifah bin Aman, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia)
1 Review of the EAS cooperation and the way forward
(1) Strengthening the EASForeign Minister Kishida stressed that Japan puts its importance on the EAS, that the 10th anniversary of its establishment would provide an ideal opportunity for strengthening the EAS, and that EAS member countries should work together in order to strengthen the EAS as a premier forum of the region. In addition, he highly commended the leadership shown by Malaysia, and expressed support for adoption of a declaration commemorating for the 10-year anniversary at the EAS Meeting this year. In this regard, he reiterated that Japan puts its emphasis on (i) expanding on political and security issues and (ii) reinforcing the EAS institution, and, to this end, pointed out the importance of convening regular meetings attended by permanent representatives of the EAS member countries, establishing an EAS Unit at the ASEAN Secretariat, and enhancing linkage between the EAS and the ADMM+. In response, many member countries emphasized the importance of strengthening the EAS, made concrete proposals to that end, and supported the announcement of the declaration for the 10-year anniversary.
(2) Quality infrastructure investmentForeign Minister Kishida stated that it is important to effectively deal with a vast infrastructure demand in Asia, and that Japan will strongly support the ASEAN Community building this year and integration efforts beyond this year, through provision of approximately 110 billion U.S. dollars for ''Quality Infrastructure Investment'' in Asia over the next five years based on the ''Partnership for Quality Infrastructure'', and approximately 750 million yen of Japan-Mekong cooperation over the next three years.
(3) Disaster ManagementForeign Minister Kishida explained that Japan has provided support for the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center) by measures such as introducing an ICT system, and stated that Japan will continue to provide assistance by focusing mainly on human resources development.
2 Quality infrastructure investment
(1) Legislation for peace and securityForeign Minister Kishida explained that Japan's ''Legislation for Peace and Security'' are aiming at further contributing to the peace and stability of the region as well as the international community.
(2) South China Sea
- Foreign Minister Kishida expressed the view that freedom of the high seas in the expanse of ocean from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean through the East China Sea and the South China Sea should continue to be respected as a fundamental value, and to this aim, ''the three principles of the rule of law at sea'' should be thoroughly adhered. He stated that the coastal states should exercise self-restraint in unilateral actions that cause a permanent physical change to the maritime environment in maritime areas pending final delimitation.
- In addition, he expressed his serious concerns regarding continued unilateral actions that change the status quo and raise tensions, such as large scale reclamation and the building of outposts as well as their use for military purposes, and pointed out that ''completion'' of reclamation cannot be accepted as a fait accompli. Furthermore, he stated that the coastal countries should renew their commitment to refrain from taking unilateral actions, whether for military use or for civilian use, that would cause permanent physical change to the maritime environment in maritime areas pending final delimitation, by returning to the spirit and provisions of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). He also renewed his support for the Philippines' arbitration procedures. Further out, he expressed his strong expectation for full implementation of the DOC and early conclusion of the consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).
- In response, some countries expressed their concerns over the recent situation while mentioning moves for reclamation, building of outposts and militarization in the South China Sea. In addition, many countries emphasized the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, adherence to international law including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, self-restraint and peaceful settlement, and called for full implementation of the DOC and early conclusion of the consultations on the COC.
(3) North Korea
- Foreign Minister Kishida emphasized that Japan's policy of aiming for a comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern such as the abductions, nuclear and missile issues remains unchanged. In addition, he pointed out that continuation of nuclear and missile development by North Korea is a grave threat to the region and the international community. He said that it is important for the international community to continue to send out strong messages to North Korea that (i) possession of nuclear capabilities by North Korea will never be permitted, and that (ii) North Korea should refrain from taking provocative actions and fully implement UN Security Council resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks in a sincere manner. At the same time, he stated the importance of strict enforcement of UN Security Council resolutions, including export control by countries concerned.
- Foreign Minister Kishida stated that the abductions issue is a serious problem related to Japan's sovereignty, lives and safety of its citizens, as well as universal problem of the international community, and showed his expectation for understanding and cooperation by countries concerned. In addition, he expressed his hope that Japan would like to cooperate with countries concerned in order to improve the situation on human rights in North Korea, including resolution of the abductions issue.
- In response, many countries expressed concerns over missile and nuclear development by North Korea, and called for implementation of related UN Security Council resolutions and the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. Furthermore, some countries expressed concerns over the situation of human rights in North Korea.