by Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda
at the ASEAN
Post Ministerial Conference (PMC)
24 July 1996
Your Excellency, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas,
Distinguished Foreign Ministers of ASEAN member countries and dialogue partners,
Ladies and gentlemen:
It is a tremendous pleasure for me to have this precious opportunity to exchange opinions with ASEAN members and dialogue partners on the peace and stability of this region, and on promoting the prosperity and stability of the entire international community under the distinguished leadership of our Chairman, Minister of Foreign Affairs Alatas.
(The Situation in the Asia-Pacific and the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC))
Currently, the Asia-Pacific region is achieving steady economic development with ever-deepening levels of interdependence. Recently, cooperation is moving forward in the form of concrete developments in the region, such as the promotion of confidence-building measures within the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and the compilation of Individual Action Plans by the member economies of APEC aiming to promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment. In addition, in the context of relations with countries outside of this region, an historic step in strengthening ties between Asia and Europe was made with the holding of the first Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in March of this year.
In light of these developments, the role that the ASEAN PMC has played, and will continue to play, and the responsibility which it will bear, will be of tremendous importance.
Beginning this year, we will welcome the People's Republic of China, the Republic of India, and the Russian Federation as new ASEAN dialogue partners. I look forward to even more beneficial and lively discussion among the ministers gathered here.
(The Future Direction for the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC))
In 1994, the ASEAN Regional Forum was created to serve as a venue for political and security dialogue on the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, given the high degree of overlap in the memberships of the ASEAN Regional Forum and the PMC, it is essential to clarify the division of responsibilities to be taken by these two fora, so that both can hold even more efficient and effective discussions.
I believe that it is important to deepen concrete discussions within the context of the PMC focusing on the extra-regional political and security situations and the international economy. As such, it is indeed significant that at this year's PMC 7+10 Meeting, the agenda will include political and security issues beyond the Asia-Pacific region, including the situations in the Middle East and Bosnia-Herzegovina and disarmament, as well as global international economic issues such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the United Nations reform issue too, which is a matter of common concern to all countries.
In the discussions today, Japan intends to place particular emphasis on the following two points. First of all, Japan will call upon all countries to take a constructive approach to signing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) before the September General Assembly of the United Nations, in order to further advance global nuclear disarmament. Secondly, Japan will take this opportunity to report on the lively discussions which took place at the G-7 Lyon Summit on the themes of globalization, including regional situations, global issues, and development issues.
As we approach the 21st century, Japan intends to make the utmost effort to ensure that the important tradition of the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference endures - to ensure that dialogue and discussions between all ASEAN members and participating ASEAN dialogue partners are fruitful, and that cooperation continues on contributing to the future of the Asia-Pacific region and the entire world.
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