Countries & Regions

July 2, 2013
The 20th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting (1)
The 20th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting (2)

Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended the 20th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting on the afternoon of July 2 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei. An outline of the meeting follows:

  1. Significance of the Meeting

    Participating Ministers candidly exchanged views, primarily on regional issues including Korean Peninsula, the South China Sea and Myanmar.

  2. Regional situation

    Following is a summary of remarks by Minister Kishida on key regional issues:

    (1) Korean Peninsula

    Minister Kishida urged North Korea to refrain from provocative actions, to implement a series of UN Security Council resolutions and joint statements of the Six-Party Talks on North Korean issues in a faithful and comprehensive manner, and to take concrete action toward denuclearization. He underscored the importance of the international community working together to address these issues. He also expressed determination to bring about a final settlement of the abduction issue. As in past meetings, a representative for North Korea displayed its original positions, such as that the abduction issue had been fully resolved. Minister Kishida made counter-arguments based on Japan's official position, including that the North Korean representative's comments on the abduction issue totally contradicts the facts.

    (2) South China Sea

    Minister Kishida noted that the issue on the South China Sea is of interests and concerns for the international community as a whole that is directly connected to the peace and stability of the region. He emphasized that any party concerned should refrain from taking coercive and unilateral actions and respect relevant international law, including the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in order to establish the principle of the “rule of law” in the region. Minister Kishida expressed hopes for the early conclusion of an effective Code of Conduct (COC), following the Joint Press Release issued by China and ASEAN of the convening of official consultations. Most participating Ministers stressed the importance to respect related international law and make efforts for the peaceful settlement of conflicts, while expressing hopes for the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the early conclusion of a COC.

    (3) Myanmar

    Minister Kishida said Japan welcomes the outstanding progress towards democratization, national reconciliation and economic reform in Myanmer and Japan will do its utmost to support Myanmar in both private and public sectors, as Prime Minister Abe directly informed Myanmar in his last visit in May. Other participating Ministers welcomed progress in efforts toward democratization and expressed hopes for further progress in economic development in Myanmar, chiefly through the lifting of sanctions.

    (4) Syria

    Minister Kishida expressed the serious concerns with the worsening situation on Syria that lacks prospect for improvement, which is beginning to have serious impacts on the Middle East region at large. Other participating Ministers also voiced concerns, reflecting the standpoints of their respective countries.

    (5) Iran

    Minister Kishida said Japan shares the concerns of the international community on Iran's nuclear problem and sincerely hopes that Iran, under President-elect Hassan Rouhani, makes a concrete progress towards peaceful resolution of nuclear issue.

  3. Other Issues

    Participating Ministers commented on the priorities in the framework of the ARF in the next inter-sessional period. Minister Kishida expressed that Japan would like to cooperate closely with China and Myanmar as next co-chairs of the Inter-Sessional Meeting (ISM) on disaster relief. He also explained that Japan will host the ARF ISM on Non-proliferation and Disarmament next year, with a focus on nuclear disarmament.


* The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of the original in Japanese.

Back to Countries & Regions