The ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers Meeting was held for the first time in Bangkok on July 26 (16:00 to 18:15). The summary of the meeting is as follows. (The Senior Officials Meeting was convened prior to the Foreign Ministers Meeting.)
1. Main Agenda
- Review of the implementation of the “Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation” issued at the ASEAN+3 Summit Meeting in Manila in November 1999 and discussion of future approaches
- Regional and international issues: Situation on the Korean Peninsula, South China Sea issues, and situation in Indonesia were discussed, and Joint Statement of ASEAN+3 in Support of the Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity and National Unity of Indonesia (Annex) was adopted.
2. Key Points in Foreign Minister Kono’s Statement
- As possible forms of cooperation to be discussed at the ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers Meeting, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono advocated “open regional cooperation” and a “Japan-East Asia Partnership Initiative” (a concept under which Japan and certain East Asian nations, such as Singapore and the Republic of Korea, would cooperate to assist third countries in East Asia). As specific areas of cooperation, Foreign Minister Kono referred to human resources development and the problem of economic disparities within ASEAN. In particular, with respect to the development of the Mekong River Basin, he advocated making use of the Greater Mekong Subregion Program of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), proposed the holding of the GMS + (Plus) Business Cooperation Meeting, and announced Japan’s intention to advance Mekong River Basin development with the involvement of the private sector.
- With respect to regional and international issues, Foreign Minister Kono reported on the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, in particular on how Asian views were reflected in the discussions. In particular, in the area of Information Technology, he referred to an initiative to bridge the “Digital Divide” by means of a comprehensive cooperation package with a view to extending a total of US $15 billion over the next five years. Foreign Minister Kono stressed that Japan would implement the package with special emphasis on Asian countries. With respect to the regional situation in Asia, Foreign Minister Kono led the discussion on Indonesia (expressing support for a joint statement in support of its territorial integrity) and the Korean Peninsula by introducing the discussions at the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit on these topics.
3. Major Statements by Other Countries
- H.E. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand who chaired the meeting, expressed his appreciation for the invitation extended by Japan on the occasion of the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit as the representative of ASEAN. He also welcomed the various initiatives that Japan has taken with various views expressed by Asian countries in mind.
- Other major comments at the meeting were as follows.
- Call for assistance for Mekong River Basin development (Thailand and Myanmar; China expressed its intention to participate in the ADB/GMS project)
- Launch of a new round of trade negotiations at the WTO in such a way that the interests of developing countries are reflected (Thailand and China)
- Expectation that the participation of North Korea in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) would contribute to the stability of the region (Indonesia and the Republic of Korea)
- Importance of stability in Indonesia (Indonesia)
- Evaluation of efforts to draft a regional code of conduct for the South China Sea issue (Indonesia)
Source: https://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/asean/conference/asean3/summary0007.html (provisional translation)