The ASEAN Plus Three Summit was held successfully on 12 December 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Meeting was chaired by the Honourable Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, and was attended by Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member Countries, the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
We signed the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the ASEAN Plus Three Summit to reaffirm our commitment to ASEAN Plus Three cooperation, which has achieved substantial progress in the last eight years. We agreed to continue holding the ASEAN Plus Three Summit annually in conjunction with the ASEAN Summit to guide and provide political momentum to East Asian cooperation and community building efforts.
We agreed that the ASEAN Plus Three process will continue to be the main vehicle in achieving that goal, with ASEAN as the driving force, and with the active participation of the ASEAN Plus Three countries, in order to promote shared ownership. We reiterated our common resolve to realise an East Asian community as a long-term objective that would contribute to the maintenance of regional and global peace, security, progress and prosperity
We noted with satisfaction the steady progress achieved in the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation in the last eight years, which had brought about mutual benefits and closer linkages, thereby contributing to community building in East Asia. In this regard, we noted the progress made in the implementation of East Asia Study Group (EASG) short-term, and medium and long-term measures. We agreed to accelerate the implementaion of all the short-term measures by 2007 as well as to expedite the carrying out of the medium and long-term measures. We noted the ongoing feasibility study by the Expert Group on the East Asia Free Trade Area. We reaffirmed the need to strengthen the ASEAN Plus Three Unit at the ASEAN Secretariat to coordinate and implement cooperation. We welcomed concrete offers by the Plus Three Countries to promote substantive cooperation.
We noted the policy recommendations of the 3rd Meeting of Network of East Asia Think Tank (NEAT) in August 2005 entitled “Towards an East Asia Community” in August 2005 in Tokyo, and the outcomes of the 3rd East Asia Forum held in October 2005 in Beijing. We requested our Ministers and Senior Officials to study the recommendations and proposals of these meetings. We also noted the successful convening of the Joint Study Convention on East Asia Cooperation, which China convened on 30 October 2005.
We welcomed the developments in the Asian Bond Market Initiative (ABMI) and the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI), which are making important contribution to the monetary and financial stability of our region. We also welcomed Thailand’s proposal to host the First Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Finance Minister’s Meeting in 2006 to promote ABMI in the ACD framework.
We welcomed the proposal to hold East Asia week annually to promote, among others, arts and culture, awareness about East Asia cooperation and foster people-to-people bonds.
The ASEAN Leaders expressed their appreciation to China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea for their assistance in narrowing the development gap in ASEAN and ASEAN integration through, among others, their support in implementing various projects under the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan and sub-regional growth areas in ASEAN.
The Leaders of the Plus Three countries agreed to continue their support to ASEAN Community building efforts, including through the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP), which would at the same time contribute to the building of an East Asian community in the long-term.
We further agreed to take stock of ASEAN Plus Three cooperation since 1997 and issue a second Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation and Work Plan at our Summit in 2007 to consolidate existing cooperation and set the future direction for the cooperation and East Asian community building on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation in 2007.
We exchanged views on regional and international political and security, and economic issues of common interest and concern.
We shared our concerns on the challenges facing the region and the world as a whole, such as terrorism, maritime security and other transnational crime, the outbreak of avian influenza, and natural disasters. We reiterated our commitment to cooperate within the ASEAN Plus Three framework and participate actively in other regional and global efforts in addressing these challenges. In this regard, we welcomed Malaysia’s proposal to establish a regional WHO collaborating centre for influenza and a Regional Avian Influenza Research and Reference Centre in Malaysia, as contribution towards global health security.
We reaffirmed the urgent need to address energy security issues. We noted that policy dialogue as well as search for alternative or renewable sources of energy such as hydro power, solar and bio-fuel from palm oil, sugar cane and even coconut could be cooperative initiatives we could look into. We noted that we could exchange best practices and technologies on energy efficiency and conservation. We tasked our Ministers and Senior Officials to study cooperation in this sector.
We recognised the need to address issues concerning the environment and sustainable development. We also acknowledged the importance to foster cooperation in the areas of transport and communication, including information communication technology in bridging the digital gap and promoting people-to-people linkages. We tasked our Ministers and Senior Officials to study possible areas for cooperation, including greater utilisation of IT in community building.
We reaffirmed our commitment to the peaceful and comprehensive solution to the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula. In this connection, we welcomed the Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six-Party Talks adopted on 19 September 2005.
We welcomed the convening of the first East Asia Summit (EAS) on 14 December 2005 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We shared the views that the EAS should be convened annually and that the EAS will play a significant role in this region. The EAS will be consistent with and reinforce ASEAN’s efforts in building the ASEAN Community. We recognised that the EAS will contribute to the evolving regional architecture. We look forward to a fruitful deliberation of the EAS.