The Fifth Meeting between the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and the Foreign Ministers of the Peoples’ Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 1 July 2004. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.
The Ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues affecting the region, especially with regard to the developments in the Korean Peninsula. The Ministers welcomed the progress achieved during the Six Party Talks held in Beijing on 23-25 June 2004 and believed that all parties would make their utmost efforts to reach a peaceful settlement to this matter.
The Meeting expressed their sympathy and condolences to the people and the Government of the Republic of Korea for the tragic killing of its national in Iraq. The Meeting further condemned all acts of violence conducted in the name of terrorism.
The Meeting indicated that it looked forward to the accession of Japan to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) on 2 July 2004. The Meeting noted that the Republic of Korea had stated that it would positively consider acceding to the TAC. The Meeting also welcomed the readiness of the Government of China to sign the Protocol of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ).
The Meeting noted the rapid development of the ASEAN+3 cooperation achieved in the span of one year, notably the expanding areas of cooperation encompassing political, economic and functional fields. The Meeting reaffirmed the central role of ASEAN in advancing the ASEAN+3 process towards reaching the establishment of the East Asia community.
The Ministers discussed the possibility of the formation of a community that might result from the intensifying cooperation of ASEAN+3. The Ministers agreed that the establishment of an East Asia community is a long-term objective, that would be achieved through a building-bloc and step-by-step approach.
The Meeting recognized the potential value of an East Asia Summit at an appropriate time. Prior to the decision on convening such an East Asia Summit, the Meeting underlined the need to have a thorough consideration of the modalities and various aspects relating to this idea, in particular its relationship to the existing ASEAN+3 process. The Meeting appreciated the value of the issue papers on an East Asian community, the functional cooperation and an East Asia Summit, prepared by the Government of Japan, which would facilitate further discussions on the future direction of the ASEAN+3 process and a prospective East Asia Summit.
The Ministers noted the progress in the implementation of the short-term measures recommended by the East Asia Study Group (EASG), especially with regard to the Network of East Asia Think-tanks (NEAT) and the East Asia Forum (EAF) and the Study Group on Promotion of Exchange of People and Human Resources Development.
The Ministers welcomed the forthcoming second meeting of NEAT in Thailand on 16-17 August 2004 and second meeting of the EAF in Malaysia in early December 2004. During this ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers Meeting, the Ministers took note of the Terms of Reference for the ASEAN+3 Working Group for Materializing the Recommendations of ASEAN+3 Study Group on Facilitation and Promotion of Exchange of People and Human Resource Development.
The Ministers also took note of the concept paper of China on “Promoting Investment by Small and Medium Enterprises” and the Republic of Korea on “the ASEAN+3 Ministerial Meeting on Reinventing Government”. The Meeting agreed that these proposals would be first deliberated upon at the level of ASEAN+3 Directors-General.
The Ministers deliberated on the possible formation of an East Asian Free Trade Area (EAFTA), which might be characterised by free movement of goods, services and freer flow of capital and skilled labour.
The Ministers welcomed the significant progress made under the Asian Bond Market Initiative (ABMI) that would eventually facilitate the pooling of funds for productive investment in the region. Under the framework of the Chiang Mai Initiative, the Ministers were also pleased to note the continued expansion of the network of bilateral swap arrangements (BSAs), which had amounted to sixteen BSAs totalling USD 36.5 billion.
The ASEAN Ministers appreciated the commitment of the Plus Three countries to support the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan.
The Ministers discussed the preparations for the next ASEAN+3 Summit, which would be held in Lao People’s Democratic Republic in November 2.