Towards the building of strategic and multi-layered partnership between Japan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
At the invitation of His Excellency (HE) Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan, His Royal Highness (HRH) the Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defense and Aviation, the Inspector General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, made an official visit to Japan from April 5 to 7, 2006, corresponding to 7 to 9 Rabi'l 1427H.
His Imperial Highness (HIH) the Crown Prince of Japan received HRH the Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud upon his arrival at the airport.
His Majesty (HM) the Emperor of Japan met with HRH the Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud at the court luncheon hosted by HM the Emperor in the honor of HRH the Crown Prince at the Imperial Palace.
HRH the Crown Prince Sultan and HE Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan, held a meeting in Tokyo on April 6, 2006 and issued the following statement.
- Both sides recalled that the first visit by HRH the Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to Japan in 1960 in his capacity as Minister for Transportation and Communication, which was the first Royal visit from Saudi Arabia to Japan, opened the pages of the history of the friendly ties between the Royal family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Imperial family of Japan, and that the Royal and Imperial visits between the two countries, including the visits of HM King Faisal in 1971 and then HRH Crown Prince Abdullah in 1998, as well as the visits of then Their Imperial Highnesses (TIH) the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan in 1981 and TIH the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan in 1994 and that of HIH the Crown Prince of Japan in 2005, further enhanced the close ties.
- Recognizing that relations of amity between the two countries have been mutually beneficial, and especially that various activities and events on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of establishing the diplomatic relations have made a tremendous contribution to strengthening the bilateral ties, both sides expressed their firm determination to further advance their prosperous relations. Towards that end, noting the great significance of the visit of HRH Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to Japan, which has provided a historic opportunity to build a strategic partnership, "Memorandum on Policy Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" was signed.
- Both sides shared the intention to further promote strategic dialogues at all levels in various fields, such as economics, culture, environment and aviation transportation for consolidating their partnership. Both sides also expressed their willingness to promote high-level political dialogues, including those between Foreign Ministers.
- Both sides shared the view that further development of economic relations is a main driving force towards a strategic and multi-layered partnership between Japan and Saudi Arabia, while noting with satisfaction the recent development of economic and commercial activities between the two countries. The Japanese side congratulated Saudi Arabia on its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which would further expand business opportunity in Saudi Arabia. The Japanese side also welcomed the announcement of the opening of a Saudi commercial bureau in Tokyo.
- Both sides welcomed the significant increase of mutual investment between Japan and Saudi Arabia, including Rabigh Petrochemical Project by Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. and Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabian Oil Company), Sharq Project by SPDC Ltd. (Saudi Petrochemicals Development Company) and SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation), and Saudi Aramco's investment to Showa Shell Sekiyu K. K. In a similar vein, both sides welcomed the cooperation between Saudi and Japanese businessmen, paying particular attention to the positive outcomes of the activities within the framework of the Japanese-Saudi Business Council Joint Meeting.
- Towards further developing the economic relations between Japan and Saudi Arabia, both sides underlined the importance of making efforts mainly at two levels simultaneously.
First, both sides expressed their willingness to vitalize discussions on how to further promote mutual investments, and readiness to resume negotiations on bilateral agreement on protection and promotion of investment.
Second, on a regional level, both sides welcomed the decision to launch formal negotiations on an Free Trade Agreement (FTA) covering trade in goods and services between Japan and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) States and to hold a preparatory meeting in May 2006, recognizing that the Japan-GCC FTA would contribute to further strengthening the economic and business relations between Japan and Saudi Arabia as well as between Japan and the GCC States as a whole.
- Both sides shared the view that the stability of the world oil market is a cornerstone for the sound growth of the world economy. In this regard, the Japanese side expressed its appreciation for the significant roles being played by Saudi Arabia - the largest, reliable and secured exporter of oil to the world as well as to Japan and the leading figure of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Both sides recognized the importance to further promote bilateral cooperation through close dialogues on energy field, based on mutually complementary relationship between Saudi Arabia with its largest hydrocarbon resource in the world and Japan with its advanced energy-related technologies. The Saudi side expressed its intention to continue to assure stable oil supply to Japan, and the Japanese side expressed its appreciation for this. Both sides also welcomed the successful inauguration, by the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, of the International Energy Forum (IEF) headquarters in Riyadh, stressing its role to enhance transparency of the world oil market. In this regard, both sides reaffirmed their determination to cooperate with each other at the upcoming 2nd International Energy Business Forum (IEBF) and the 10th IEF on 22-24 April.
- Both sides recognized the importance of multi-layered economic relations based on mutual benefits, and shared the view on the key role of the Joint Committee. In this connection, both sides expressed their aspiration to hold the next meeting as early as possible.
- The Saudi side expressed its gratitude for the technical assistance which Japan has so far provided, mainly through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in various fields of human resources development to implement the Japan-Saudi Cooperation Agenda. Both sides welcomed, as a role model of vocational training, the successful achievement of the Saudi Japanese Automobile High Institute (SJAHI) project, which was a fruitful outcome of coordinated efforts by the governments and private sectors of both countries. The Saudi side also expressed its appreciation for the other projects such as the project of High Institute for Plastics Fabrication (HIPF) and the project of Training on Female Enterpriser Promotion.
- Both sides confirmed that mutual understanding and respect of different cultures and civilizations are the bedrock for this rapidly globalizing world. In this connection, the Japanese side expressed its support for the call by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to condemn the idea of the clash of civilizations and to replace it by the idea of constructive, peaceful co-existence between all civilizations, and his call that relations between countries and nations should be a stage of a true dialogue in which every side respects other side. In this context, the Saudi side noted that Japan has been making important contributions to promoting mutual understanding between various civilizations, among which are Islamic, Asian and Western. The Saudi side expressed its appreciation for Japan's consistent enlightened position to combat prejudiced stereotypes and to promote understanding between cultures and civilizations.
- Both sides noted the importance of the Japan-Arab Dialogue Forum, of which the two countries are the core members and which have so far held three meetings - the first in Tokyo, Japan, the second in Alexandria, Egypt and the third in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia -, in promoting Japan-Arab mutual understanding, and welcomed that the fourth meeting will be held in Tokyo in May 2006. The Saudi side also appreciated other initiatives by Japan in this regard, such as Inter-Civilizational Dialogue and Dispatch of Japan-Middle East Cultural Exchanges and Dialogue Mission, both of which have contributed to deepening mutual understanding between Japan and the Middle East. The Japanese side expressed its appreciation for the significant roles played by King Saud University in promoting Japanese language education, as well as by the Arabic Islamic Institute in Tokyo in teaching the Arabic language and introducing the Islamic culture to the Japanese society.
- Both sides underlined the pivotal importance of Japan-Saudi coordinated joint efforts for peace and stability in the entire Middle East, on such issues as follows.
- As for the Middle East peace process, both sides emphasized that just and comprehensive solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict would be a significant contribution to the stability and prosperity in the Middle East region and would eliminate a main source of tension and threat to international peace and security. Both sides expressed their support for the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state, stressing the importance of both the peace initiative by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, which was adopted at the Arab summit in 2002, and the Roadmap. Both sides, while confirming their continued support for the Palestinians, stressed the importance of realizing just and comprehensive peace, accepting the result of the elections held in January 2006 as a step towards building a democratic Palestinian state in accordance with relevant United Nations Security Council's resolutions including 242 and 338, and continuing to provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.
- Reaffirming the commitment of the two countries to help the Iraqi people in achieving their aspirations for better future, both sides decided to closely coordinate with each other to support achieving stability and territorial integrity and promoting its national unity and equality among all groups of the Iraqi people, so that they could take advantage of optimum benefits from its resources. The Saudi side expressed its appreciation to Japan's significant contributions for reconstruction and stability of Iraq.
- Both sides, appreciating the importance of Afghanistan's transition to peace and security, stressed the importance of their ongoing joint efforts in Afghanistan to help achieving that end.
- Both sides stressed the importance of urging all the states in the Middle East to accede to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and making the Middle East a region free from all weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means in conformity with relevant internationally legitimate resolutions. Both sides also confirmed the importance of supporting the international diplomatic efforts which aim at non-proliferation of nuclear weapons as well as working for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.
- Both sides reiterated their condemnation against terrorism in all its forms as a threat to the international peace and security, and shared the view that the international community must be united in fighting against terrorism. In this context, both sides reaffirmed their firm commitment to implementing the counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, and relevant United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions. The Japanese side appreciated Saudi's initiatives on counter-terrorism, including the hosting of the Counter-Terrorism International Conference held in Riyadh in February 2005, in which Japan also participated. Both sides stressed the importance of the recommendations of the Conference including the proposal by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to establish an International Counter Terrorism Center as well as the urgent need to conclude the negotiations of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to promote international cooperation on counter-terrorism.
- Both sides shared the view that the United Nations must be comprehensively reformed to reflect new realities of the 21st century, recognizing increasingly important role of the United Nations in promoting world peace, stability and prosperity. Both sides also affirmed cooperation toward renewing and revitalizing the UN organs including the General Assembly, the Secretariat, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council based on the World Summit Outcome Document adopted last September. Especially, both sides shared the view that early reform during the current session of the UN General Assembly is necessary, recognizing that Security Council reform is an essential element of such overall reform. The Saudi side expressed its support for Japan's permanent membership in the Security Council when the expected reforms of the Council include the enlargement of its membership. Japan expressed its deep gratitude for the support of Saudi Arabia.
Tokyo, April 6th, 2006
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