Chairman’s Statement of the Eighth ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers Meeting, 31 July 2007, Manila
Manila, Philippines31 July 2007
The 8th Meeting between the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and the Foreign Ministers of the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea was held in Manila, Philippines on 31 July 2007. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Alberto G. Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.
The ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues and noted that the overall security environment in the region remains stable despite existing challenges. The Foreign Ministers renewed their commitment to work together to meet those challenges, especially in promoting peace, stability, and economic progress in the region.
The ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan and expressed deep concern over the recent sad turn of events concerning the abduction of innocent citizens of the Republic of Korea. They expressed their deepest sympathy to the bereaved families, people, and government of the Republic of Korea for the unjustifiable killing of two Korean citizens. For humanitarian reasons, they issued an appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the remaining hostages to enable them to reunite with their loved ones.
The ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their support for the Six-Party Talks process as the most viable mechanism for peacefully resolving the North Korean nuclear issue. They stressed that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is essential in maintaining peace and security in the region, and expressed support for the resolution of the nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation. They welcomed the agreements reached at the resumption of the latest round of talks from 18-20 July 2007 in Beijing, China, that Parties will fulfill their commitments in the Joint Statement of 19 September 2005 and the agreement of 13 February 2007. In particular, they welcomed the action by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in shutting down the Yongbyon nuclear facility on 15 July 2007 and noted the report of the IAEA verifying the shutdown of the facility. They also welcomed the announcement of the DPRK that it shall earnestly implement its commitment to a complete declaration of all nuclear programs and disablement of all existing nuclear facilities. They also emphasized the importance of addressing the issue of humanitarian and people concerns of the international community.
The ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the APT partnership and its contributions in helping establish an ASEAN Community by 2015. They reviewed the progress in the drafting of the 2nd Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation and its Work Plan. They agreed to strive for adopting the two documents during the ASEAN Plus Three Summit in Singapore.
The ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers reviewed the progress achieved in the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation and the follow-up actions to implement the decisions of the ASEAN Plus Three Summit held in Cebu, Philippines on 14 January 2007. The Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction that the cooperation between ASEAN and the three Northeast Asian countries has been progressing very well in the economic and financial areas. The Foreign Ministers were also pleased with the recent expansion of ASEAN Plus Three cooperation in the areas of women, poverty alleviation, disaster management and minerals.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation to China, Japan and the Republic of Korea for their initiatives on the proposed East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA), including the outcomes of the study of the Expert Group on EAFTA, the proposal of Japan to establish an Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), and the proposal of ROK to conduct Phase II of study involving an in-depth sector-by-sector analysis of EAFTA.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation to China, Japan and the Republic of Korea for the support they were extending to the Initiative for ASEAN Integration, particularly, in the areas of combating infectious and other pandemic diseases, media cooperation, human resource development, disaster preparedness education, gender and equality education, and science and technology.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers welcomed the initiative of President Roh Moo-Hyun to establish an ASEAN Plus Three Center for the Gifted in Science in Gyeongnam Province, ROK, aimed at enhancing capabilities of students of science and applied sciences among ASEAN Plus Three countries.