Overview of the 19th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting
July 13, 2012
The following is an overview of the 19th ARF Ministerial Meeting held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on July 12, 2012.
1. Significance of the Meeting
The participating Ministers exchanged views in a candid manner on the issues of North Korea, South China Sea and Myanmar.
In particular, with the recent heightened tension among the countries involved in the South China Sea issue, a strong message was sent out from international community through the Meeting on the importance of reaching a peaceful resolution based on international law.
2. Regional situation
The following is a summary of the points raised by Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on key regional issues.
(1) Korean Peninsula
With regard to the abduction issue, Minister Gemba said that it remains a serious concern as well as an international issue that is linked to the lives and safety of the people, and demanded North Korea's positive actions. (In response, North Korea repeated its original position that the abduction issue has already been resolved.)
(2) South China Sea
(Each of the countries stated that the issue should be resolved in a peaceful manner in line with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. They also expressed their expectations for the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct (COC), which is planned to be discussed between China and ASEAN.)
3. Other matters
At the Meeting, participants discussed the future shape that the ARF would take. They reaffirmed the importance of collaborating with other regional frameworks such as the EAS and ADMM Plus, as well as the importance of the central and unifying role played by ASEAN in moving the ARF forward.
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