Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi Attends the EAS, ASEAN+3, and Japan-ASEAN Summit Meetings
(Overview and Preliminary Evaluation)
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi attended a series of ASEAN-related summit meetings including the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN+3 (Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea (ROK)) Summit, and the Japan-ASEAN Summit which were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from December 12 to 14. The following is an overview and preliminary evaluation of the meetings.
1. Overview of Each Summit Meeting
East Asia Summit (EAS)
The first East Asia Summit (EAS) was held in the morning of December 14 with the attendance of the heads of state/government of the ASEAN member countries, Japan, Australia, China, India, the ROK, and New Zealand. The President of Russia participated as a guest in the beginning of the meeting.
- Leaders of the participating countries discussed the future directions of East Asia and, in that context, how the region should further develop regional cooperation in East Asia, from both broad and strategic perspectives.
- Prime Minister Koizumi remarked that, (1) he intends to contribute to the development of the EAS into a forum in which the participating countries will conduct strategic discussions from broader perspectives on the basic principles of and approaches to regional cooperation as well as the responses to common issues today's East Asia is facing, with a view to building an East Asian community (EAc) in the future, and (2) the EAS could play a significant role in the community building in the region through fostering a sense of commonality among all participating countries by advancing actual cooperation on issues such as avian influenza, terrorism, piracy, and energy.
- The "Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the East Asia Summit" (hereinafter referred to as the "EAS Declaration") was adopted and a large portion of the points Japan had emphasized were reflected in this document (the major points are as follows). The East Asia Summit Declaration on Avian Influenza Prevention, Control and Response was also issued.
(1) The EAS could play a "significant role" in community building in this region;
(2) The EAS will be an open, inclusive, and transparent forum;
(3) The participating countries of the EAS will strive to strengthen global norms and universally recognized values;
(4) The EAS will focus on a wide range of areas, notably, political, security, economic, social and cultural issues;
(5) The EAS will be convened annually (this point is provided in the EAS Chairman's Statement). The EAS will be hosted and chaired by an ASEAN member country and held back-to-back with the annual ASEAN Summit.
- Russia expressed its intention to participate in the EAS as a full member from the next meeting. It was decided that the incumbent participating countries will consider this request.
- The next EAS will be convened in Cebu, Philippines in December 2006.
The ninth ASEAN+3 Summit was held in the afternoon of December 12 with the attendance of the heads of state/government of the ASEAN member countries, Japan, China and the ROK.
- The participating countries discussed the current situation of ASEAN+3 cooperation and its future direction.
- Prime Minister Koizumi noted on (1) enhancing the capacity to respond to threats in the region such as avian influenza and terrorism (in regard to avian influenza, Japan announced an assistance package worth 135 million US dollars), (2) ensuring further prosperity in the region through economic partnerships and monetary and financial cooperation, (3) forging the sense of commonality in the region, and (4) the importance of supporting ASEAN integration.
- Drawing on the results of the summit meeting, the "Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the ASEAN Plus Three Summit" was issued, which incorporated that, (1) the ASEAN+3 cooperation will continue to be the "main vehicle" for the building of an EAc, and (2) the participating countries will commence efforts to prepare a second Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation to be adopted in 2007.
The ninth Japan-ASEAN Summit was held in the morning of December 13.
- Japan and ASEAN are now working together on equal footing to address common challenges and ASEAN is making increasingly active contributions to East Asia cooperation as the driver of regional cooperation. On this recognition, the Leaders adopted the Joint Statement of the Ninth ASEAN-Japan Summit which reaffirms the political resolve to "deepen and broaden ASEAN-Japan strategic partnership."
- Prime Minister Koizumi announced that Japan will provide financial assistance in the amount of 7.5 billion yen (approximately 70 million US dollars) to support ASEAN integration,including the provision of 500 thousand courses of antivirals as part of the countermeasures against avian influenza, and assistance in such areas as counter-terrorism measures and assistance to those disadvantaged by economic integration.
2. Preliminary Evaluation
East Asia Summit (EAS)
- A major point of contention among participating countries in the course of the preparatory process to the EAS was whether or not the EAS to be newly established should take part in the formation of an EAc in addition to the ASEAN+3, which has been conventionally functioning as the "main vehicle" for the building of an Eac. In the event, consensus was achieved to include a line in the EAS Declaration stating that the EAS "could play a significant role in community building," which laid an important corner stone for the EAS to contribute to the development of the regional cooperation in the years to come.
- Furthermore, the fact that (1) principles which Japan attaches importance to such as openness, transparency and inclusiveness as well as strengthening universally recognized values were included in the EAS Declaration, and (2) the EAS is to be convened annually, is deemed to contribute to the development of the EAS in the future. In addition, there is a need to embark on actual cooperation conducted and bear substantial fruits among the 16 participating countries of the EAS, and the issuance of the East Asia Summit Declaration on Avian Influenza Prevention, Control and Response at the inaugural EAS shall serve as an important catalyst to this end.
- At the ASEAN+3 Summit, each country reaffirmed the importance of the ASEAN+3 cooperation which builds on the achievements of the past eight years, and agreed to formulate a second Joint Statement and Work Plan in 2007, which marks the tenth anniversary of the establishment of this framework. This could be deemed as a new progress in promoting regional cooperation with a view to building an EAc in the years to come through the maintenance and enhancement of the momentum of the ASEAN+3 cooperation, which has achieved substantive cooperation.
- With regard to the countermeasures against avian influenza, which is a pressing issue for the entire region, Japan renewed its presence by putting forth a large-scale comprehensive assistance package.
- The issuance of a joint statement which advocates "ASEAN-Japan strategic partnership" underscores Japan's stance to attach further importance to ASEAN as a strategic partner on truly equal footing with Japan in dealing with the various issues facing the region including the formation of an EAc.
- Furthermore, Japan's announcement to provide assistance of the largest scale (contribution of 7.5 billion yen / 70 million US dollars) as an ASEAN dialogue partner to support ASEAN integration demonstrated, in the form of "concrete action," Japan's wish to see a strong ASEAN with solidarity.
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