12th JAPAN-EU SUMMIT
Athens, 1-2 May 2003
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT
Mr Costas Simitis, Prime Minister of Greece, in his capacity as President of the European Council, assisted by the High Representative for the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr Javier Solana, and Mr Romano Prodi, President of the European Commission and Mr Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan, met in Athens on 1-2 May 2003 for the 12th Summit between Japan and the European Union.
They recognised that bilateral relations, already very good, continued to develop well. In this context, they emphasised that the Action Plan for EU-Japan Co-operation should continue to be implemented actively. They noted the satisfactory results which had been obtained in the previous year and identified a number of concrete priorities to be advanced by the time of the next Summit - -details of these are given in the Annex.
They renewed their commitment to foster the development of their strategic partnership; this is based not only on strong economic links, with the EU and Japan together accounting for approximately 40% of world GDP and around 28% of world trade, but also on a rising tempo of political dialogue and cooperation.
They reiterated their commitment to enhance their political cooperation and to reinforce their political and strategic partnership, in order to contribute to consolidating peace and stability worldwide, including through undertaking initiatives for the establishment of democracy, rule of law and good governance in international trouble spots. Both sides share the aspiration of bringing the two regions together through the ASEM dialogue process, and reaffirm their willingness to deepen their partnership in political, economic, cultural and other aspects. This should result in a more active inter-regional involvement over the coming years, conducive to a successful international system.
They recognized that the current situation on the Korean Peninsula was not just of grave regional concern, but had serious global implications in terms of non-proliferation. The EU side praised PM Koizumi's initiative in visiting Pyongyang last September and underlined the importance of Japan keeping actively involved in helping to find a peaceful resolution of the current situation. They affirmed the importance of the Japan - Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Pyongyang Declaration in opening the way to normalising bilateral relations, through resolving concerns between Japan and the DPRK including the abductions issue and security problems. They support the efforts to sustain political and economic engagement between the two Koreas, which are at the core of President Roh's "Policy for Peace and Prosperity". They reiterated that DPRK must promptly eliminate its nuclear weapons programme in a visible, irreversible and verifiable manner. They expressed their support for the idea that the issue be discussed within a multilateral framework. They noted that the political dialogue recently held in Beijing among the US, the DPRK and China might be a step in that direction with the possible participation of other countries concerned. They urged the DPRK to act as a responsible member of the international community and comply fully with its international commitments in the field of non-proliferation in order to improve the present situation and safeguard peace and security in the Korean Peninsula. The EU and Japan, in coordination with other partners, will work together to find a diplomatic solution.
Concerning Iraq, they welcomed the fact that new perspectives have opened for the Iraqi people who now have the chance to shape a new future for the country and to rejoin the international community. They also shared the view that at this stage it is necessary to strengthen international solidarity and to ensure a secure environment, including for the provision of humanitarian assistance, in particular urgent medical relief and the protection of the cultural heritage and museums. Both sides expressed their commitment to the territorial integrity of Iraq and the need to preserve regional stability. They also underlined the importance of establishing an interim authority by the Iraqi people as soon as possible. Furthermore they recognised the vital role that the UN must play utilising its unique capacity and experiences in post-conflict situations. The EU and Japan welcomed the appointment by the UN Secretary-General of a special adviser on Iraq and look forward to a further strengthening of the UN's involvement initially in the coordination of the humanitarian assistance. The two sides are determined to work together for the further stability of the region as a whole.
They discussed the situation and the prospects of the Middle East Peace Process. They welcomed the formal approval by the Palestinian Legislative Council of the new government proposed by the appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas as an important step towards defusing the conflict and returning to the negotiating table. Terror, violence and confrontation must give way to negotiations and compromise. The international community shares a common vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. In this respect both sides stressed the need to implement, without delay, the Quartet's Roadmap and cooperate in its implementation. They recognised the need to maintain close consultation on the issue, the more so since the EU and Japan are important contributors to this process.
They fully support the endeavours of the Western Balkan countries toward European integration, to consolidate democracy and stability and to promote economic development. The countries in the region should continue also to persevere with the reforms necessary to achieve these goals. The EU explained the positive outcome of the latest Stabilisation and Association Process reports for the Balkan countries, as well as preparations for the EU-Balkan Summit in Thessaloniki in June that will constitute a new and important step in further enhancing the relations between the EU and the Western Balkan countries.
They underlined the need for a swift solution of the Cyprus problem through negotiations on the basis of the UN Secretary General's proposed plan.
In the light of the present international situation, the EU and Japan, as substantial contributors to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, reiterated their strong commitment to support the efforts of the Afghan Transitional Administration for the full implementation of the Bonn agreement, in the drafting and ratifying of a new constitution, holding free and fair elections, setting up an effective Afghan National Army, promoting the DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration) process and fighting the illicit production and trafficking of drugs. Both sides encouraged the establishment of a constitutional framework for effective human rights protection, including the rights of women, children and the minorities.
They discussed the situation in Sri Lanka and the EU welcomed Japan's initiative to consolidate peace there. As the co-chairs of the forthcoming Tokyo Conference on the Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka in June 2003, along with the Kingdom of Norway and the US, they confirmed that they would make utmost efforts for the success of the Conference.
Other regional issues of mutual interest, such as Indonesia and relations with China were raised. The EU explained its new Common Position on Myanmar and Japan explained its new Comprehensive Approach.
They recognised that there is still a considerable potential for growth in two-way trade and investment. The EU side welcomed PM Koizumi's policy statement last January aiming to double the stock of direct investment in Japan over the coming 5 years. In this regard, they issued a statement on "Japan-EU Initiatives on Investment", recognising the need for joint efforts, both to encourage more European companies to invest in Japan and Japanese companies to invest in Europe. The EU side stated its appreciation of the ongoing progress in structural reform in Japan, in particular as regards improving the business and investment environment and liberalising business-related services. Japan, in turn, welcomed the efforts in the European Union in the framework of the Lisbon process to promote reform of financial, product and service markets.
They welcomed the signature of the Accession Treaty on April 16, 2003. Assistance to Bulgaria and Romania to meet their accession target of 2007 and Turkey's progress towards Europe were also discussed. The benefits enlargement would bring for Europe, not only politically, in terms of enhanced stability, but also economically, through the creation of a larger single market and a reinforced growth dynamic in the newly acceding countries, were pointed out. This would create an environment which would benefit foreign firms doing business with the EU, including those from Japan. The Japanese side stressed that enlargement would have significant implications for EU-Japan relations, in particular economic ones. While Japan firmly believed that these should be beneficial, some of the economic effects could be complex. They recognised the need to consult on these issues. For this purpose, the existing mechanisms for consultations will be fully utilised and specific meetings of the Action Plan Steering Group would be organised if necessary. The EU would also launch a wide-ranging series of events in Japan to explain the detail of enlargement to the Japanese public and business.
They looked forward to the signing, as soon as possible, of the Agreement between the European Communities and the Government of Japan concerning Cooperation on Anti-Competitive Activities.
They discussed global issues. On WTO, they concurred on the need for good preparation of the Ministerial Conference in Cancun (Mexico) in September in order to move the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations into higher gear and achieve the decisive breakthroughs needed to accomplish a broad-based successful outcome, including the smooth launch of the negotiation of all the Singapore issues. To this end, they stressed the importance of enhancing their cooperation by regularly reviewing their respective positions and exploring common ground.
They recognised the need to closely co-operate on improving access to medicines in developing countries.
They were deeply concerned about the spread of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) worldwide, particularly in Asia, and expressed their willingness to enhance the exchange of information and cooperation to cope with this disease.
Recalling their Joint Summit Declaration of December 2001 on combating terrorism, they informed each other about the most recent steps they were taking in this field.
They confirmed that both sides would begin to prepare jointly for successful implementation of the "2005 Japan-EU Year of People-to-People Exchanges".
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