Countries & Regions
The Sixteenth ASEAN Plus Three Summit 2013
October 10, 2013
The Sixteenth ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit was held on October 10th, 2013 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. Prime Minister Abe attended the meeting. The following is a summary of Prime Minister Abe’s statement delivered during the Summit.
Prime Minister Abe opened his statement by expressing his delight to be back at the ASEAN Plus Three Summit since his last attendance seven years ago. He introduced that seven years ago, he addressed at the Summit that “for peace and prosperity, we must create an open, vigorous East Asia rich in innovation.” He appreciated the many innovative and concrete outcomes have already been made thanks to the sharing of wisdom from all APT countries, and looked forward to further development of cooperation.
Prime Minister Abe also stressed that the APT is an important regional cooperation framework in East Asia along with the trilateral cooperation among Japan, China and the ROK as well as the East Asia Summit (EAS).
In this regard, the Prime Minister welcomed the attendance of Secretary General Iwatani of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat.
ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation
Prime Minister Abe welcomed the adoption of the Revised APT Cooperation Work Plan, and offered to continue contributing to practical cooperation of this framework. He also welcomed the replenishment of the APT Cooperation Fund (APTCF) to facilitate the implementation of the Work Plan.
On the review and future direction of the APT cooperation, the Prime Minister highlighted three points that Japan puts importance on, namely finance, food security, and “people-to-people connectivity” with tourism and education at the core, as below:
(1) Financial Cooperation
Prime Minister Abe spoke highly of the financial cooperation which is the core of the APT cooperation, and the efforts by the APT working together for the stability of finance, including the Chiang Mai Initiative. He emphasized that he would like to advance cooperation for the development of regional economy such as facilitating bond markets in the region. On this point, he looked forward to the early signing and entering into force of the Agreement Establishing APT Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) as part of the effort to strengthen regional financial safety net.
(2) Food Security
He addressed that food security, especially during emergencies such as natural disasters, is one of the most important challenges to the nations of this region, and welcomed that the APTERR commenced its operation, adding that Japan would like to continue to contribute on this issue.
The Prime Minister also mentioned that two-and-a-half years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, which Japan received tremendous assistance from each APT country, and expressed his gratitude that regional countries have relaxed or completely removed restrictions on Japanese food products. He also reaffirmed that Japanese products that are in the market are safe, adding that Japan will continue to provide information concisely and promptly, and requested to those countries that still continue import restrictions to review or remove these measures based on scientific data.
(3) APT Connectivity (Education and Tourism)
Prime Minister Abe reiterated that Japan is actively promoting assistance towards strengthening ASEAN Connectivity, attaching special importance to “People-to-People Connectivity” such as education and tourism in the APT framework. He expressed his wish to utilize the outcomes of the 11th East Asia Forum (EAF) held in Kyoto this August, which discussed the theme of enhancing tourism cooperation.
On education, the Prime Minister mentioned that Japan hosted the “1st APT Working Group on Mobility of Higher Education and Ensuring Quality Assurance of Higher Education among APT Countries” at the end of September in Tokyo, discussing the ways to promote mutual exchange among universities and students of the APT, while ensuring quality assurance of education. He added that Japan would like to continue to actively contribute to the efforts to enhance “People-to-People Connectivity” such as education and tourism.
Regional Issues: North Korea
Prime Minister Abe raised the issues of North Korea, emphasizing that North Korea should take positive and concrete actions on nuclear and missile issues, and stressed the importance of ASEAN Member States’ cooperation to this end. The Prime Minister also requested each country’s understanding and cooperation on the abductions issue.