Chairman's Statement of the 3rd East Asia Summit

21 November 2007

1. The Third East Asia Summit (EAS) chaired by H.E Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, was held on 21 November 2007 in Singapore. The Heads of State/Government of ASEAN, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand, and the Foreign Minister of Australia, representing his Prime Minister, had a productive exchange of views on regional and international issues, as well as on the growing areas of cooperation within the EAS framework.

Regional and International Issues

2. We welcomed recent progress made at the Six-Party Talks, in pursuit of a peaceful and comprehensive resolution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. In this respect, we welcomed the DPRK's agreement to disable all existing nuclear facilities subject to abandonment under the September 2005 Joint Statement and the February 13 agreement, as well as the Inter-Korean Summit in October 2007. We look forward to the Six-Party Ministerial Meeting to be held in Beijing. We also emphasized the importance of addressing the issue of humanitarian concerns of the international community.

3. On the situation in Myanmar, we noted that the recent visits by UN Special Advisor Ibrahim Gambari had resulted in several steps in the right direction. We expressed the view that the process of national reconciliation had to move forward, and that the UN played a vital role in this process. We noted Myanmar’s views about ASEAN’s role, and ASEAN’s decision to respect Myanmar’s wishes and make way for Myanmar to deal directly with the UN and the international community on its own. We acknowledged that ASEAN had done its best to engage Myanmar and be helpful in Myanmar’s efforts to move towards national reconciliation. We reaffirmed our commitment in continuing to give strong support to the UN's role and Gambari's mission, and encourage Myanmar to continue to work closely with the UN towards national reconciliation.

4. We reiterated our strong commitment towards an expeditious and successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round. Concluding the Round is essential to promote growth, opportunity, and prosperity. The primacy of the rules-based multilateral trading system is also vital to ensure a fair and predictable global market in which we can all participate. We firmly believe that a successful outcome is within our collective grasp if we all make the necessary sacrifices. We are prepared to make our contribution. We each know what we must do and we call on all WTO Members to do the same at this critical juncture. We have come too far to fail.

Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development

5. We devoted a session to discuss "Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development", which are pressing and inter-related global concerns. We also signed the Singapore Declaration on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment, which affirmed our commitment to carry out collective action to address these challenges for mutual benefit and the common good.

6. Recognizing the adverse impact of climate change on socio-economic development, health and the environment, we expressed our support for the work to achieve a common understanding on a long-term aspirational global emissions reduction goal to pave the way for a more effective post-2012 international arrangement. In this regard, we appreciated the efforts of various EAS participating countries, including the “Cool Earth 50” proposal by Japan.

7. We also stressed the importance of developing an effective, comprehensive, and equitable post-2012 international climate change arrangement under the UNFCCC process. We thus agreed to participate actively in the process of establishing such an effective, flexible and equitable arrangement, involving all countries, and would achieve compatibility between environmental protection and economic growth, in accordance with our common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. In this context, we reiterated our strong support for the 13th session of the COP to the UNFCCC and the 3rd CMP to the Kyoto Protocol to be held in Bali, Indonesia in December 2007.

8. We were pleased to hear the many useful initiatives and ideas proposed by EAS participating countries to address the challenges of climate change, and instructed our Ministers and officials to follow up on these. In particular, we welcomed Viet Nam’s proposal to host an EAS Environment Ministers’ Meeting and Thailand’s hosting of the 2nd EAS Energy Ministers’ Meeting in 2008 to follow up on our discussions on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment. We agreed that there was much scope for cooperation in the areas of protecting carbon-sinks, energy efficiency and conservation, sustainable forest management and ensuring afforestation/reforestation, technology transfer, adaptation measures.

9. We appreciated Japan’s environmental cooperation initiative “Towards a Sustainable East Asia”, through which it would contribute more than USD2 billion over the next 5 years to anti-pollution measures, and undertake a number of key proposals. We endorsed Singapore's proposal to convene an EAS Conference on Liveable Cities in June 2008 to address the inter-related issues of urbanisation, climate change, energy, and the environment. We also welcomed the proposals from Thailand and China to organise an EAS workshop on biofuels and a seminar on climate change adaptation capacity building respectively. We also affirmed our support for important forestry initiatives such as the Heart of Borneo conservation plan.

10. Reiterating our concern over the current oil price increases which could hurt all economies, especially those of developing countries; we agreed to intensify efforts to improve energy efficiency and conservation, increase the use of renewable energy sources, and explore alternative energy sources, including civilian nuclear energy for interested parties, while ensuring nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation, in particular, its safeguards, within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); so as to enhance the strength of our economies in coping with this challenge.

11. We expressed satisfaction with the follow-up to the Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security that we had signed at our 2nd Summit in Cebu. We commended the work done by the EAS Energy Ministers at their inaugural meeting in Singapore on 22 August 2007, supported by the EAS Energy Cooperation Task Force; and tasked them to continue their good work. We appreciated, in particular, the EAS Energy Ministers' recommendations on future areas of cooperation, including:

  1. Formulating, on a voluntary basis, energy efficiency goals and action plans, with a view to presenting the first goals and action plans in 2009, followed by monitoring of progress towards each countries' own energy efficiency goals;
  2. Enhancing cooperation on biofuels in the region, including formulating principles for biofuels, and supporting cooperation in developing reference benchmarks for biofuels; and
  3. Promoting energy market integration.

We also exchanged further ideas on how to enhance regional energy cooperation such as through promoting the use of low-carbon and environmentally friendly technology, enhancing research and development, encouraging technology transfer, providing technical and financial assistance and enhancing the implementation of clean development mechanisms as well as developing carbon-trading mechanisms and looked forward to the EAS energy officials looking into these areas further.
review of EAS cooperation

12. Recognizing the potential of the EAS to build a united, stable and prosperous East Asia, we reaffirmed our determination to continue developing the EAS as an important forum for strategic dialogue and regional cooperation. We reiterated our decision at the 2nd EAS in Cebu to deepen cooperation in all the five priority EAS cooperation areas. In this regard, we welcomed the proposals presented by the ASEAN Secretariat on EAS cooperation in disaster management and education, as a means to begin initiating concrete cooperation in these two priority areas. We also looked forward to the broadening and deepening of EAS cooperation in other areas.

13. We agreed to the establishment of the Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) to be accommodated temporarily at the ASEAN Secretariat. We welcomed the report submitted to us by the Expert Group, which focuses on research topics of strategic interest to the EAS countries. We encouraged the Expert Group to continue its research work and we looked forward to practical policy recommendations to further regional integration and strengthen partnerships in East Asia.

14. We welcomed the progress report of the study by scholars and academics on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA), and encouraged them to maintain good momentum in their work towards submitting a final report of recommendations through the Economic Ministers to us at the 4th East Asia Summit. It would be useful to incorporate the views of the private sector in the work process. The CEPEA should build upon and add value to our existing FTAs. We encouraged the expeditious conclusion of our ASEAN Plus 1 FTAs.

15. Given the importance of developing and diversifying financial markets, we welcomed closer cooperation among EAS participating countries. In particular, we welcomed the key recommendations made by our Finance officials, including that of an Informal Senior EAS Finance Officials’ Dialogue.

16. Recognising that United Nations' Alliance of Civilizations (AOC) initiative was an important means of fostering dialogue among faiths, cultures and communities; we agreed that the implementation of its recommendations would improve relations and understanding between communities in East Asia and elsewhere. We further welcomed the intention of a number of East Asian governments to collaborate on AOC-related projects, in areas such as youth exchanges, education and media training, and instructed our officials and the ASEAN Secretariat to follow up on these.

17. We welcomed the positive developments in India's Nalanda University initiative, including the inaugural meeting of the Nalanda Mentor Group chaired by Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen in Singapore in July 2007 and Japan’s offer to host its 2nd meeting as well as an associated Forum on Intercultural, Inter-societal and Interfaith dialogue next month. The revival of Nalanda University would create a centre for cultural exchange and inter-religious study and understanding in the region.

18. We noted with satisfaction, the progress of youth exchange in East Asia, including the steady implementation of the “Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths” (JENESYS) Programme.

Future Direction of the EAS

19. We recognised that deepening economic integration is a key element in promoting regional community-building, and that as the regional architecture evolves, it becomes even more pertinent that the relationship among the EAS countries strengthen.

20. Reaffirming our common desire to see continued progress in the various areas of cooperation under the EAS while maintaining the EAS' "leaders-led" and strategic nature, we recognised the practical need to coordinate such cooperation and ensure follow-up on our discussions. We tasked our officials, working with the ASEAN Secretariat, to consider possible structures to better coordinate the EAS process.

21. We stressed our conviction that the EAS should continue to help build a united and prosperous East Asia, with ASEAN as the driving force working in close partnership with other participants of the East Asia Summit. We reaffirmed that the East Asia Summit is an important component of the emerging regional architecture and would help build an East Asian community. It should play a complementary and mutually reinforcing role with other regional mechanisms, including the ASEAN dialogue process, the ASEAN Plus Three process, the ARF, and APEC in community building efforts.

22. We expressed our appreciation to ROK President Roh Moo-hyun for his contributions to the EAS process, and wished him all the best in his future endeavours. We also expressed our appreciation to ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong for his service and contributions to the EAS.

23. We agreed to convene the Fourth East Asia Summit in Thailand.