Comments on the adoption of the Manila Plan of Action
by Senior Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Masatoshi ABE

(January 31)

Let me first thank the Government of the Philippines for the heartwarming welcome accorded to us. I would also like to thank your excellencies, Secretary Albert and Foreign Minister Barco for their commendable leadership in facilitating discussions during the Foreign Ministers' Meeting.

I would like to make three comments here.

Firstly, it is significant that we reaffirmed at the Retreat the importance of the cooperation between East Asia and Latin America through FEALAC process in this globalized world.

It is undeniable that globalization brings us significant benefits, but it also brings us transnational challenges such as terrorism, environmental degradation, transnational organized crime, human trafficking, illegal trafficking of arms and drugs, the spread of infectious disease, widening gap between the rich and the poor etc. Such challenges cannot be met by the efforts of a single nation or region. It is high time for the international community to cooperate to address the challenges through international fora, including the United Nations.

FEALAC is a forum that links two diverse regions geographically far from each other. It is a significant venue to strengthen the cooperation in a wide range of areas, such as Politics, Economics and Culture, etc. through deepening mutual understanding and learning from each others' experiences. FEALAC will also contribute to present global common ground on the issues to be addressed by the entire international community, through adding values while avoiding duplication.

Secondly, the "Manila Plan of Action to Further Enhance Cooperation Between East Asia and Latin America", which we are going to adopt today, is a important document, which indicates the direction of our future cooperation in FEALAC. From now on, we should build concrete activities following this guidance.

Therefore, as I mentioned at the Retreat yesterday, we are going to implement 3 new projects, namely, "FEALAC Young Business Leaders' Encounter in Tokyo", "Trade & Investment Promotion Seminar" and "Study on Strategy to Promote Trade and Investment between East Asia and Latin America". Those are our modest contributions, which aim to further strengthen economic ties between the two regions.

Another pillar of the Manila Plan of Action is "securing future". While the threats to people are more diversified and aggravating, the approach based on the concept of Human Security becomes more important. Japan will further strengthen cooperation from this viewpoint.

Thirdly, it is important that we build on FEALAC cooperation on a voluntary basis and progress steadily towards a long-term perspective.

Although FEALAC is considered a young Forum, we have been building our activities making a steady progress in our cooperation to strengthen the relationship between East Asia and Latin America. I think that we don't need to rush for an immediate achievement, we should rather aim for steady and continuous steps forward for the long term. We hope each country will contribute its share with its own merit. In that way, directions indicated in this ministerial meeting will gear us into more substantive cooperation. Let us cooperate for the development and prosperity of both regions!

Lastly, let me thank once again the Governments of the Philippines and Columbia for their able leadership as a regional coordinator since the First Foreign Ministers' Meeting. I trust that Korea and Brazil will also display the same high standards in their work as a new regional coordinator, assuring that Japan will fully cooperate with them to further cooperation in FEALAC.

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