- HIS Excellency Mr. HOR Namhong, Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Coopertation of the Kingdom of Cambodia and Chairman of the Fourth ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, issued this statement on the outcome of the meeting:
- The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the ASEAN countries and of the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea convened for the fourth ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in the afternoon of 17 June in Phnom Penh. The meeting extended a special welcome and congratulations to H.E. Mr. Li Zhaoxing, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, and H.E. Mr. Yoon Young Kwan, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea, who had recently been appointed to thier respective positions.
I. The Global Security Situation
- On the current global security situation, the ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers had extensive discussions on the Korean situation an the continuing menace of international terrorism which had a profound impact on the region.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their continued concern over the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, which could affect peace and stability in Northeast Asia a a whole. They called for a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. The Foreign Ministers also called for peaceful settlement of the nuclear problem through dialogue among the parties concerned. In this context, they welcomed the talks held in Beijing on 23-25 April 2003 among the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Repulic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States of America as a good start in the right direction. The Ministers were also to the view that outstanding security and humanitarian issues would be addressed through increased dialogue. They stressed the importance of exchanges and constructive dialogue between the North and the South at various levels and between and among parties concerned. They expressed their support for the efforts of the DPRK and the Republic of Korea in promoting reconciliation, cooperation and the process of reunification in conformity with the spirit of the North-South Joint declaration of 15 June 2000. In this regard, they encouraged and supported the enhanced role of the ASC/ARF Chairman in the peaceful settlement of the Korean peninsula.
- The Foreign Ministers resolved to promote closer an practical cooperation in combating international terrorism and transnational crime, including the cooperative work that the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime will be undertaking with counterparts from China, Japan and Korea when they convene in Bangkok in November 2003.
- The Foreign Ministers agreed to keep in close consultation on developments in these areas and looked forward to further discussions in the ARF on 18 June.
II. The Importance of Deepening ASEAN+3 Cooperation
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their profound conviction that the strengthening of ASEAN+3 Cooperation would significantly contribute to the maintenance of peace an stability in the region. They recognized that peaceful, friendly and stable relations among the countries of the region through deepening cooperation were essential for development and enduring prosperity. They, therefore, renewed their determination to work together towards these aims.
- In this spirit, the Foreign Ministers reviewed the progress made in the implementation of the leader’s decisions at the ASEAN+3 Summit in Phnom Penh in November 2002.
- The Foreign Ministers assessed the report and recommendations that the East Asia Study Group had submitted to the ASEAN+3 leaders at their summit in Phnom Penh last November. The recommendation – 17short-term and nine medium-and long- term – are meant to develop a sense of identify in East Asia, foster mutual understanding, and promote cooperation in a wide range of political, economic, social, cultural and educational areas. The Foreign Ministers directed officials to work on concrete projects and activities to carry out those recommendations, initially the short-term ones, establishing priorities and drawing up specific modalities.
- The Foreign Ministers lauded Japan’s Initiative for Development in East Asia (IDEA) and the success of the first ministerial meeting of IDEA in August 2002 that resulted in the “Joint Ministerial Statement of the Initiative for Develplement in East Asia” which was later adopted by the ASEAN+3 Leaders at their Summit in Phnom Penh last November. That ministerial meeting reaffirmed the importance of human resources development, open trade and investment, and poverty reduction. The Foreign Ministers welcomed the second IDEA Ministerial Meeting to look into concrete development issues.
- The Foreign Ministers exchanged views on current efforts in dealing with SARS and its impact on the regional economy. While they welcomed the positive progress in addressing SARS, they called for the need to remain vigilant and to continue working together.
- The Foreign Ministers gave their special attention and expressed their commitment to extending meaningful suppor for the implementation of the projects and programs embodied in the work plan of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), ASEAN’s priority program of narrowing the development gap among the ASEAN members.
- The Foreign Ministers looked forward to the next ASEAN+3 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, in October 2003, and the next ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta, in July 2004.