Asian Senior-level Talks on Non-Proliferation (ASTOP)
Tokyo, 13th November, 2003
- The Asian Senior-level Talks on Non-Proliferation (ASTOP) was hosted by Japan on 13th November 2003 in Tokyo. 12 Asian nations, namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, were represented in the meeting and Australia and the United States also participated. The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Yukiya Amano, Director-General for Arms Control and Scientific Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
- The participants welcomed the opening of the meeting as the first senior-level dialogue among the Asian countries dedicated specifically to the discussion of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical and biological weapons) and their delivery means as well as their related materials and technology.
- The participants shared the view that prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials and technology is vitally important to international peace and security, while stressing the importance of efforts for disarmament of such weapons. They reported on their domestic systems and efforts for non-proliferation in the respective countries, as well as made various constructive proposals to strengthen regional cooperation in this field, contributing to a lively exchange of views.
(a) The meeting recalled the G8 Declaration on Non Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction adopted in June 2003, the Political Declaration on Prevention of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Means of Delivery adopted by the ASEM Foreign Ministers in July 2003, the Joint Declaration on the Promotion of Tripartite Cooperation among Japan, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea, and the APEC Leaders' Declaration adopted in October 2003, all of which stress the importance of continuing efforts on disarmament and prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials and technology, in accordance with relevant international conventions in the interest of maintaining international peace and security.
(b) Thus, the participants noted the aforesaid Political Declaration adopted by the ASEM Foreign Ministers to the effect that comprehensive and non-discriminatory implementation of, as well as efforts for gaining wider adherence to, the relevant international conventions are of great importance.
- The meeting underscored the importance of regional cooperation in the Asian region.
(a) The participants reaffirmed their commitment to prevent terrorists or those who harbor them from acquiring or developing weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means as well as their related materials and technology, as they unanimously viewed that the threat of terrorist activities is real in Asia, and that continued efforts to reduce this threat should be greatly encouraged.
(b) They also noted that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula would contribute to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, and that they look forward to concrete and verifiable progress towards a complete and permanent nuclear weapons-free Korean Peninsula. The issues of Iran were also touched upon from the viewpoint of non-proliferation.
(c) The meeting encouraged the participating countries' efforts to prevent proliferation by reinforcing relevant national authorities in the respective countries. Participants discussed the need to further develop the national authorities, legislation and capabilities in order to strengthen the non-proliferation mechanisms of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
(d) The meeting took note of the 1st Asian Export Control Policy Dialogue and the 11th Asian Export Control Seminar convened by Japan in October 2003 which stressed the importance of export control. The participants discussed the need to strengthen export control systems in Asian countries, and to further promote dialogues and cooperation on non-proliferation and disarmament within the Asian region so as to counter the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the region. The participants welcomed increased cooperation between relevant national authorities, particularly with respect to sharing of information, experiences, best practices and expertise.
(e) The meeting also acknowledged that some participating states may require technical assistance in implementing necessary measures to strengthen non-proliferation mechanisms, and called on participants to provide such assistance.
- The participants appreciated the detailed explanation by Australia, Japan and the United States on the Proliferation Security Initiative and its Statement of Principles. They explained that the Initiative is a response to the growing challenge posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and their related materials worldwide, and that it seeks to impede and stop trafficking of such materials flowing to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern, consistent with national legal authorities and relevant international law and frameworks. There was useful exchange of views on various aspects of the PSI. The participants will report the explanation on the PSI to their respective capitals for their consideration.
- The participants are deeply concerned about the threat posed by proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. In this context, participants took note of the launch of The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) in November 2002, while recognizing the need for a comprehensive approach towards missiles.
- The participants emphasized the importance of the continuing the dialogue as they appreciated the fruitful outcomes of the dialogue among the participants in addressing disarmament and non-proliferation issues in Asia.
Back to Index