ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC 10+10 Retreat)

July 29, 2005

The ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) 10+10 Retreat was held by the foreign ministers of the participating countries for approximately an hour and 45 minutes from 14:15 on July 28 in Vientiane, the Lao People's Democratic Republic. These countries included the ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its ten Dialogue Partners (Japan, China, the Republic of Korea (ROK), India, Australia, New Zealand, the United States (US), Canada, Russia and the European Union (EU)). From Japan, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ichiro Aisawa attended the meeting. The summary of the meeting is as follows.

1. Progress of ASEAN Integration

(1) Laos (chair country) briefed that work has been in progress in the ASEAN Community building efforts in the three pillars of security, economy and socio-culture within the ASEAN region since the adoption of the ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II) in 2003 and the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) in 2004, and that a decision was made to establish the ASEAN Development Fund (ADF) at the ASEAN Ministerials' Meeting (AMM) this time. Laos requested financial cooperation from its Dialogue Partners to the ADF. In addition, Viet Nam made a request for special cooperation to be extended to the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam) and expressed its gratitude for the contributions given by its Dialogue Partners thus far, including Japan. Thailand stated that preparations have started to draft the ASEAN Charter for the formulation of an ASEAN Community.

(2) Senior Vice-Foreign Minister Aisawa stated as follows:

  • Japan will strongly support and provide cooperation towards ASEAN's initiative for the formulation of the ASEAN Community by 2020. Japan intends to discuss with ASEAN on such occasions as the Japan-ASEAN Forum (vice-minister level) scheduled in August so as to achieve concrete results at the Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting scheduled at the end of this year.

  • Building new partnership in Asia is the key for Japan. As such, Japan intends to consider assistance measures that will respond to (a) narrowing the development gap, (b) promotion of economic partnership, and (c) addressing the transnational crime, by the Summit Meeting at the end of the year.

(3) Many of the other participating countries voiced their support for ASEAN integration. The EU and Canada both stated that they were prepared to provide cooperation based on their experience in integration while India said that it was considering providing contributions to the ADF. Furthermore, the US stated that ASEAN integration will contribute to domestic demand-led growth in the region and expressed its wish for ASEAN to continue engaging in financial reform efforts as part of its agenda.

2. East Asian Regional Cooperation

(1) Senior Vice-Foreign Minister Aisawa remarked that ASEAN should aim to realize an open regional cooperation based on openness, transparency and inclusiveness, the three principles supporting regional cooperation. Senior Vice-Foreign Minister Aisawa stated that it is with such a view that Japan welcomes the participation of Australia, New Zealand and India in the first East Asia Summit (EAS). In addition, Senior Vice-Foreign Minister Aisawa shared his intention to continue building close relationships with other Dialogue Partners including the US.

(2) Major comments by other countries are as follows:

  • ROK: The EAS is one of the various East Asia Study Group (EASG) measures proposed by the then-President Kim Dae-Jung. The participation of Australia, New Zealand and India in the first EAS is welcomed. The division of roles between ASEAN+3 and the EAS is necessary.

  • Canada: Open, transparent and inclusive characteristics are desirable in a regional cooperation as well as compliance with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

  • India: Appreciates the invitation to take part in the first EAS as the EAS forms the basis of the "Asian Economic Community" that it proposes.

  • US: The key to the success of ASEAN is its philosophy of outward-orientedness.

  • Singapore: Openness is important. This is evident in the participation of Australia, New Zealand and India in the first EAS. It acknowledges that the US, EU and Russia have interest in this openness. As the EAS covers an extremely large region, it must be handled well so as not to trigger dissociation.

3. International and Regional Situations

(1) Asia-Africa Cooperation
Senior Vice-Foreign Minister Aisawa called on the Asian countries to utilize their experiences when providing assistance to the African countries while taking into account the outcomes of the Asia-Africa Summit held this April. In particular, Senior Vice-Foreign Minister Aisawa stated that one idea is to use the Asia-Africa Young Volunteers, as proposed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the said Summit, and emphasized that this approach complies with the principle for the development of Africa agreed upon at the Group of Eight (G8) Gleneagles Summit.

(2) Follow-up of the Special ASEAN Leaders' Meeting on Aftermath of Earthquake and Tsunami
The ASEAN countries expressed their gratitude for the cooperation provided by other countries for the damage caused by the major earthquake off the coast of Sumatra Island and the tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Senior Vice-Foreign Minister Aisawa remarked that Japan intends to steadily implement the 500 million dollar grant it announced at the Special ASEAN Leaders' Meeting on Aftermath of Earthquake and Tsunami and further stated that Japan is providing cooperation for the construction of the tsunami early warning system. The US stated that it has provided the largest amount of assistance (over one billion dollars by the government and 1.5 billion dollars by the private sector) and made note of the assistance it received from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in transporting materials by air. The US also positively evaluated the cooperation provided by Thailand in various areas, including allowing the US to fly over Thai airspace when using Utapao Airport.

(3) The World Trade Organization (WTO) and Free Trade Agreements (FTA)
Laos commented that the reduction of tariff is being advanced under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), while ASEAN is under pressure of competition with other FTAs around the world. The EU, Thailand, the ROK, New Zealand, and some other countries, noted the importance of FTAs, but at the same time pointed out the importance of achieving a successful conclusion to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round. Russia stated that it is currently in WTO accession negotiations and that it is prepared to consider FTAs with ASEAN countries upon its accession to the WTO. The US remarked that an FTA in name alone does not fully serve its purpose unless substance follows, stated that both developing countries and developed countries should share common awareness of the issue of market access under the Doha Round.

(4) Peace Talks for Aceh, Indonesia
The EU expressed its intention to cooperate with ASEAN in providing assistance such as dispatching observers once peace is established in Aceh. Indonesia stated that it is putting forth efforts to achieve a comprehensive resolution under peace process in the Aceh and a signing of the peace agreement is scheduled to be reached by August 15 with the assistance of the EU and certain ASEAN countries. The US remarked that it positively appraises the efforts of Indonesia and expressed its gratitude for the assistance extended by the EU.

(5) Energy
Many participating countries expressed their concerns over the rising oil prices. ASEAN requested the transfer of the alternative energy and the environmental technology at an affordable price. Senior Vice-Foreign Minister Aisawa stated that the energy efficiency was also important and Japan had been advancing the technological innovation and was ready to cooperate. The ROK and Russia also stated that they were willing to cooperate with ASEAN. The US stated that it wished to cooperate with ASEAN and that diversification of energy supply sources and more efficient use of oil should be promoted. And it also emphasized the importance of energy stockpiling and the security of maritime oil transportation.

(6) Climate Change
The ROK stated that the "Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate" established on July 28 should play a complementary role to the Kyoto Protocol.

(7) Infectious Diseases
Many countries including Thailand, New Zealand and the US expressed a strong sense of crisis over infectious diseases, in particular avian influenza. These countries stressed the need for cooperation including expediting the information distribution process.

(8) Reform of the Foreign Exchange System for the Chinese Renminbi (Yuan)
The US stated that it welcomes the exchange rate appreciation in Chinese currency. It also stated that China's export to the US is tremendous, the majority of which includes parts manufactured in Southeast Asia, and although this is not the sole factor for trade imbalances, it is an issue that everyone must consider.

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