EAS Foreign Ministers' Consultation

July 27, 2011

The Foreign Ministers of countries represented in the East Asia Summit (EAS) met on July 22, 2011, in Bali, the Republic of Indonesia. The EAS Foreign Ministers' Consultation was chaired by Dr. R. M. Marty M. Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. Japan was represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeaki Matsumoto. The meeting was held in two parts, plenary and retreat sessions. The Ministers made remarks welcoming the first participation in the annual meeting by their U.S. and Russian counterparts.

1. Review of EAS and Its Future Direction

(1) Minister Matsumoto made the following points regarding the future direction of the EAS.

  • Further developing cooperation in five priority areas, and strengthening engagement in the political and security areas taking advantage of the participation of the U.S. and Russia.
  • Nurturing and developing the EAS as a leaders-led forum to confirm and fortify common vision and rules of the region, and making it lead to specific cooperation.
  • Enhancing cooperation in various areas -- maritime security (respect for basic maritime rules such as observance of international law and peaceful settlement of disputes); nonproliferation (confirmation of commitment to strengthening the nonproliferation regime); disaster management (Japan proposed to host a high-level international conference on large-scale natural disasters in 2012 based on the experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake, showed its intention to host the Third World Conference on Disaster Reduction, and pledged assistance to the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management or AHA Centre); regional economic integration (promotion of the process to study Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) and assistance for ASEAN connectivity); improvement in the quality of economic growth (Japan proposed to hold an international conference to promote a low-carbon growth model in the region); and human exchange (promotion of youth exchange and of exchange among universities, and holding of the "International Symposium on exchange among universities with quality Assurance in East Asian region").

(2) The Ministers said that cooperation should be promoted along the lines of the 2005 Kuala Lumpur Declaration and the 2010 Hanoi Declaration, and that cooperation in the five priority areas -- disaster management, education, finance, energy and avian flu prevention -- as well as on CEPEA and other issues need to be continuously promoted. Moreover, the Ministers remarked in favor of identifying new priority areas of cooperation, including connectivity, global measures for communicable diseases, the environment and climate change, and human trafficking. The Ministers voiced the importance of the Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), appreciated the results of the Informal Education Ministers' Meeting, and pinned high hopes on meetings of Energy Ministers and Environment Ministers scheduled for the last half of 2011. The Ministers also spoke of the importance of cooperation in the financial area, in addition to efforts for trade liberalization, from the viewpoint of promoting regional economic integration, calling for the holding of the EAS Finance Ministers' Meeting on the occasion of IMF/ World Bank Annual Meetings.

(3) The Ministers mentioned the need for greater regional cooperation in the political and security areas, including maritime security, nonproliferation and disaster management.

(4) Following proposals by Australia and Indonesia on regional cooperation for disaster management, the Ministers pointed to the necessity of sharing information promptly, building a system of dispatching and receiving relief aid before the outbreak of a disaster, utilizing the AHA Center, and working in partnership with the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus). The Ministers indicated the need to conduct expert-level talks on these issues.

(5) Concerning maritime security, the Ministers noted the importance of maritime issues for East Asian countries surrounded by the ocean, emphasizing the importance of promoting cooperation on specific issues such as the observance of international law, freedom of navigation, peaceful dispute settlement, protection of the marine environment, and fisheries. Moreover, the Ministers spoke of the agreement between China and ASEAN on the guidelines for implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct (DOC) in the South China Sea. On his part, Minister Matsumoto pointed to the importance of observing international law and transparency in dispute settlement. (Minister Matsumoto expressed expectations for an early agreement on the proposed Code of Conduct (COC) during the series of ASEAN-related meetings. He also pointed to the importance of the DOC guidelines to be faithfully implemented before the COC is put in place.)

(6) The Ministers exchanged views in a frank manner concerning the elements of a summit declaration to be issued following the EAS meeting in November and shared the perception of the need to continue cooperation to work out good declaration wording.

2. Regional and International Situations

(1) Concerning the North Korean issue, Minister Matsumoto welcomed the latest North-South dialogue, expressing hope that the dialogue would bring about concrete results. He also called for North Korea's faithful implementation of the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, asking for the Ministers' understanding and support for solution to the abduction issue.

(2) The Ministers exchanged views on disarmament, nonproliferation and nuclear safety, expressing willingness to negotiate with the countries involved to participate in the Protocol for the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty.

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