ASEAN Chairman's Statement on the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) +1 Sessions

Singapore , 23 July 2008

1. The ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) +1 Sessions with ASEAN's ten Dialogue Partners, namely Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States were held in Singapore on 23 July 2008.

Australia

2. The ASEAN PMC+1 with Australia was co-chaired by H.E. Sahas Bunditkul, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Honourable Stephen Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia. The Meeting reviewed the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Partnership adopted at the margins of the 3rd East Asia Summit in November 2007 in Singapore. There was agreement to enhance cooperation in the areas of disaster management, climate change, environment sustainability, communicable diseases, economic integration and people-to-people contact. The Meeting directed that the MOU on the Second Phase of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Programme (AADCP II) be concluded as soon as possible, and called for the early conclusion of the ASEAN-Australia/New Zealand FTA.

3. Australia welcomed the Post Nargis Joint Assessment Report (PONJA) and pledged an additional A$30 million to the relief and recovery efforts for the victims of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Australia’s announcement of its intention to appoint an Ambassador for ASEAN was welcomed. This was acknowledged as a clear sign of Australia’s commitment to ASEAN.

Canada

4. The ASEAN PMC+1 with Canada was co-chaired by H.E. Pham Quang Vinh, ASEAN SOM Leader of Viet Nam, and the Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the Ministry of International Cooperation of Canada. The Meeting reviewed the implementation of the 2nd ASEAN-Canada Joint Cooperation Work Plan (2007-2010), which outlined cooperation in priority areas, such as counter-terrorism and transnational crime, economic cooperation, health security, inter-faith dialogue, technical assistance and capacity-building within the ASEAN Secretariat. Officials were directed to continue their work to enhance ASEAN-Canada cooperation, including submitting a Joint Declaration on Enhanced Partnership between ASEAN and Canada to the Ministers for adoption in Thailand in 2009. The Meeting noted that Canada was considering ASEAN's invitation to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and to appoint an appropriate representative to ASEAN.

China

5. The ASEAN PMC+1 with China was co-chaired by HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, and H.E. Yang Jiechi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China. .The Meeting expressed satisfaction that ASEAN-China cooperation continued to grow from strength to strength and observed that China was one of ASEAN’s most active Dialogue Partners. Given international concern over spiraling food and oil prices, the Meeting agreed to further intensify ASEAN-China cooperation in the areas of agriculture, energy, climate change, and environmental protection. The Meeting welcomed a proposal to work with China to enhance rice yields. The Meeting called for the expeditious conclusion of the Investment Agreement of the ASEAN-China FTA, and the MOU for the Establishment of the ASEAN-China Centre. The Meeting also called for the liberalisation and facilitation of ASEAN-China air transport services and the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link, to enhance business, tourism and people-to-people interaction. China’s announcement of its decision to appoint an Ambassador for ASEAN was welcomed. This was acknowledged as a clear sign of China’s commitment to ASEAN. The Meeting conveyed their best wishes to China for th e upcoming Beijing Olympics in August 2008.

6. The Meeting noted the posititive developments in the Six-Party Talks. These positive developments, and the convening of the informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Six-Party Talks on 23 July 2008 in Singapore, were important for promoting peace and stability in the region

European Union

7. The ASEAN PMC+1 with the European Union (EU) was co-chaired by H.E. Dr Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, and H.E. Rama Yade, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs and Human Rights of France. The EU welcomed ASEAN’s goal of building an ASEAN Community by 2015, and looked forward to the ratification of the ASEAN Charter by December 2008. The Meeting acknowledged that both ASEAN and the EU had similar goals to promote peace, stability and prosperity in their respective regions, and wished ASEAN success in the implementation of the Charter.

8. The Meeting recalled the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit in Singapore in November 2007 marking 30 years of ASEAN-EU cooperation, and tasked officials to follow-up on the Plan of Action to Implement the Nuremberg Declaration on the ASEAN-EU Enhanced Partnership. The Meeting agreed to further intensify cooperation in the areas of climate change and the environment, energy and food security, and disaster management. The Meeting expressed support for and continued implementation of existing ASEAN-EU mechanisms including the Trans-Regional EU-ASEAN Trade Initiative (TREATI), the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI), and the ASEAN Programme for Regional Integration Support (APRIS) II. The Meeting took note of the work of the Joint Committee Meetings for the ASEAN-EU FTA. The EU appreciated the ASEAN Chair's efforts to complete the amendment of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, and looked forward to the EU's accession to the TAC. The Meeting looked forward to the next ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting to be held in Cambodia in May 2009.

India

9. The ASEAN PMC+1 with India was co-chaired by H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, and H.E. Anand Sharma, Minister of State for External Affairs of India. ASEAN expressed its condolences to India on the recent bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul and the Meeting reaffirmed its commitment to collectively combat terrorism. The Meeting looked forward to the expeditious conclusion of the Trade-in-Goods Agreement under the ASEAN-India FTA, which will signal India’s strategic engagement with ASEAN and catalyze economic cooperation between both sides. The Meeting welcomed India’s contribution of US$1 million to operationalise the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Fund and looked forward to the establishment of the ASEAN-India Green Fund that would promote climate change adaptation and mitigation projects. The Meeting also welcomed India’s announcement to establish IT training centres in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. India also agreed to ASEAN’s proposal to convene an ASEAN-India Agricultural Ministers Meeting to address the issue of food security.

10. The Meeting highlighted the importance of people-to-people contact in laying a solid foundation for the ASEAN-India partnership and welcomed the expansion of the Special Course for ASEAN Diplomats by India to accommodate more participants. Both sides stressed the importance of improving connectivity between ASEAN and India through the expansion of air, land and sea links, and in this regard welcomed India’s proposal for a broad-based air services agreement between ASEAN and India, as well as the proposal to construct an Indian-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway.

Japan

11. The ASEAN PMC+1 with Japan was co-chaired by H.E. Dr Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lao People's Democratic Republic, and H.E. Masahiko Koumura, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. The Meeting welcomed the “New Fukuda Doctrine”, in which Prime Minister of Japan Yasuo Fukuda declared that ASEAN and Japan would be “partners thinking together, acting together and sharing a future vision.” In this context, the Meeting looked forward to the recommendations of the ASEAN-Japan Eminent Persons Group which would chart the future course of ASEAN-Japan relations.

12. The Meeting welcomed the ratification by Japan of the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and looked forward to its early implementation. The Meeting took note of PM Fukuda’s declaration that the next 30 years would be the “thirty years of bridging Asian development gaps”. In this regard, Japan pledged to support ASEAN’s community-building efforts through strong support for the Initiative for ASEAN Integration. The Meeting also stressed the need for closer cooperation in promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy, food security and combating infectious diseases. In this regard, the Meeting welcomed Japan’s announcement that it would enhance ASEAN’s pandemic reaction capacity by stockpiling an additional half a million doses of anti-viral medication in each of the ASEAN countries. The Meeting also discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in disaster management and relief. Japan’s announcement of its intention to appoint an Ambassador for ASEAN was welcomed. This was acknowledged as a clear sign of Japan’s commitment to ASEAN.

New Zealand

13. The ASEAN PMC+1 with the New Zealand was co-chaired by H.E. Nyan Win, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Union of Myanmar, and the Right Honourable Winston Peters, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand. The Meeting called for the continued implementation of the ASEAN-New Zealand Framework Cooperation 2006-2010 to strengthen Dialogue Relations. In this regard, the Meeting agreed to broaden and deepen cooperation in counter-terrorism and transnational crime, inter-faith dialogue, human resource development, education, and people-to-people exchange.

14. The Meeting looked forward to the early conclusion of the ASEAN-Australia/New Zealand FTA. ASEAN welcomed New Zealand’s announcement of its intention to appoint an Ambassador for ASEAN. This reaffirmed New Zealand’s commitment to ASEAN.

Republic of Korea

15. The ASEAN PMC+1 with the Republic of Korea was co-chaired by H.E. Dato’ Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, and H.E. Yu Myung Hwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea. The Meeting welcomed the positive developments in the Six-Party Talks and observed that these developments boded well for stability in the wider Asia-Pacific region.

16. The Meeting reviewed ASEAN-ROK cooperation, and looked forward to the early launch of the ASEAN-Korea Centre. The Meeting also welcomed the establishment of an ASEAN-ROK Eminent Persons Group to study ways to further strengthen ASEAN-ROK relations. The Meeting noted that trade between ASEAN and the ROK had increased by 17% since the Trade in Goods Agreement came into force. The Meeting called for the early conclusion of the Investment Agreement, and noted that this would mark the completion of the ASEAN-ROK FTA. ROK’s strong support of efforts to reduce the development gap in ASEAN was appreciated. The Meeting also welcomed the proposal by ROK to convene an ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in 2009, to mark the 20th anniversary of relations between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea.

Russian Federation

17. The ASEAN PMC+1 with the Russian Federation was co-chaired by H.E. Alberto G. Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, and H.E. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The Meeting welcomed Russia’s keen interest to further enhance its relations with ASEAN in a broad range of areas, and in this regard, adopted the Roadmap on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Programme of Action to promote cooperation between ASEAN and Russia (2005-2015). It was acknowledged that the Roadmap would help to promote mutual understanding, increase people-to-people interaction and facilitate cooperation projects in the areas of agriculture, disaster management and relief, education, energy, environment and science and technology between ASEAN and Russia. To fund cooperation projects in these areas, Russia announced an additional US$500,000 contribution to the Dialogue Partnership Financial Fund.

18. The Meeting looked forward to the early establishment of the ASEAN Centre in Moscow and the conclusion of the ASEAN-Russia Agreement on Cultural Cooperation. The Meeting welcomed Russia’s announcement of its intention to appoint an Ambassador for ASEAN after the ASEAN Charter came into force. This was acknowledged as a clear sign of Russia’s commitment to ASEAN.

United States of America

19. The ASEAN PMC+1 with the United States of America (U.S.) was co-chaired by H.E. George Yeo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Singapore, and H.E. Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State of the U.S. The Meeting underscored the strategic importance of ASEAN-US relations, and reaffirmed the U.S.’ strong commitment to ASEAN and continuing engagement in the region. The Meeting warmly welcomed H.E. Scot Marciel as the first U.S. Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs. The Meeting observed that the U.S. was the first Dialogue Partner to appoint an Ambassador for ASEAN Affairs. This demonstrated the significance that the U.S. placed on its relations with ASEAN.

20. The Meeting noted with satisfaction the progress of the various areas of cooperation between ASEAN and the U.S. including the launch of the ASEAN Development Vision to Advance National Cooperation and Economic Integration (ADVANCE) programme initiated by the U.S. in February 2008. The ADVANCE programme pledged US$150 million over the next 8 years to implement the goals of the ASEAN-U.S. Cooperation Plan, the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership, the ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA), and the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP). In this regard, the Meeting noted with satisfaction the broad and deep relations between ASEAN and the U.S, and agreed to further intensify cooperation in the various areas discussed, such as trade, investment, climate change and the environment, education, energy security, food security, disaster management, science and technology, and English language training.