Japan's Position on the forthcoming ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conferences
(on July 27-28 in Singapore)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan
1. Background and Objectives
With the realization of ASEAN 10 and the signs of recovery now visible in the Asian economies, Japan will cooperate with the ASEAN countries and their dialogue partners, so that the forthcoming PMC can set a future-oriented positive tone.
(1) The forthcoming PMC will be the first PMC since ASEAN realized "ASEAN 10" and has become a regional organization covering the whole of Southeast Asia. Japan considers this PMC as an important opportunity for ASEAN to be given blessing to its role that ASEAN has played for the realization of peace and stability in the region and the results achieved. It is also an important occasion for the ASEAN countries and their dialogue partners to renew their determination to further promote cooperation and dialogue, so that ASEAN can further develop into a stabilizing power in the region toward the 21st century.
(2) Unlike the PMC of last year, which was overshadowed by the economic crisis, Japan believes that the forthcoming PMC, which will be held at a time when the economic crisis is about to be overcome, will be a good opportunity for the ASEAN member countries and the dialogue partners to set a positive tone towards the revitalization of the Asian economies and to call on one another to promote cooperation for the substantial recovery of the Asian economies and its stable growth.
Note: Current situation of and challenges for ASEAN
(1) Realization of ASEAN 10
ASEAN has contributed substantially to the enhancement of stability in the region until now, and, with the admission of Cambodia to ASEAN in April, has finally realized ASEAN 10, which is its long-held hope since its inception. The future challenges for ASEAN, which has come to embrace countries with different political systems and stages of economic development by enlargement of its membership, are the maintenance of unity and the promotion of intra-regional cooperation through "ASEAN Vision 2020" and the "Hanoi Plan of Action".
(2) Asian economic crisis bottomed out of its worst stage
After two years since the economic crisis broke out, we are starting to see signs of recovery in the economies of the ASEAN countries. It is, however, still vital for ASEAN to promote further cooperation within the region, based on the lessons learned from the economic crisis, in order to ensure future stable growth. The building of social safety nets for the poor and the socially vulnerable remains a serious issue in the ASEAN countries, and measures need to be taken to address this.
2. Japan's position
(1) ASEAN + 10 Foreign Ministers' Meeting
(The foreign ministers from ASEAN 10 and its 10 dialogue partners will attend the meeting.)
(Agenda: A. Regional Issues (i) Economic crisis, (ii) "Hanoi Plan of Action," (iii) Social Safety Nets
B. International Issues (i) Environment, (ii) Transnational Issues)
a) Japan will congratulate and pay tribute to ASEAN for its efforts in realizing ASEAN 10, peaceful and stable Southeast Asia by enlarging its membership while respecting the differences in political regime and values that exist among the member countries. Japan will call on other dialogue partners and the entire international community to strengthen their dialogues with ASEAN 10 to ensure peace and stability in Asia.
b) On the economic front, as the lead-speaker for the agenda item "Economic and Financial crisis," Japan will call on the "10 + 10" to strengthen their cooperation for the revitalization of the Asian economies, learning from the lessons of the economic crisis.
(2) Japan-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (10 + 1)
(Agenda: (i) Exchange of Views on Regional Developments, (ii) "Hanoi Plan of Action,"(iii) Japan-ASEAN cooperation)
a) Japan's effort for the realization of the "Vision for Asia in the 21st century" Japan will explain to the ASEAN countries the efforts that Japan has been making in the three areas (Striving to revitalize Asia, Placing emphasis on human security, Further promotion of intellectual dialogues) to achieve "a century of peace and prosperity built on human dignity" (see note below), as well as the follow-up of Japan's initiatives for Japan-ASEAN cooperation which Prime Minister Obuchi proposed at the Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting held at the end of last year in Hanoi.
Note: In his Policy Speech delivered in Hanoi last December, Prime Minister Obuchi proposed this as "the Vision for Asia in the 21st century."
b) Joint efforts by Japan and ASEAN 10 to realize "the Vision for Asia in the 21st century" Japan will appeal to ASEAN, which has entered a new era with the realization of ASEAN 10, to bring their cooperative relations to a higher level and work together to promote peace in Asia and the revitalization of Asia. "The Mission for the Revitalization of the Asian Economies" will be dispatched to six Asian countries, including ASEAN countries, from the end of August to the beginning of September, to have substantial discussion on the joint efforts of Japan and other Asian countries for the revitalization of Asia. The recommendations of the Mission will be submitted to Prime Minister Obuchi, which will then be taken up at the ASEAN + Japan, China, South Korea Summit Meeting to be held at the end of November in Manila.
ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conferences (ASEAN-PMC)
The PMCs are annual forums held regularly once a year at the foreign minister level between ASEAN and its dialogue partners. Since its first meeting with Japan in June 1978, ASEAN has increased its dialogue partners, and now has 10 dialogue partners participating in the PMCs.
2. Structure of the PMCs
Plenary session, at which the 10 ASEAN countries and their 10 dialogue partners get together (ASEAN + 10), and individual session between ASEAN and each dialogue partner (ASEAN + 1) are held. Since the establishment of the ARF in 1994, the plenary session has focused its discussion on political issues other than those related to regional security, economic issues, etc. ASEAN + Japan, China, South Korea Dinner will be held, during this year's conference like last year.
3. Participating countries and organizations
The participants to the conferences are: the 10 ASEAN countries, Japan (since 1978), the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the EU (since 1979), Canada (since 1980), South Korea (since 1991), India, China, Russia (since 1996)
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