ASEAN, Dialogue Partners Agree on Future Direction


The ASEAN and its dialogue partners China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, together with Australia and participants in the ASEAN-UN Summit and the ASEAN Plus Three Summit convened in Vientiane on Wednesday to discuss ways forward in various areas of cooperation.

ASEAN leaders participated in the ASEAN-China Summit to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, when leaders reaffirmed their commitment to enhance cooperation aimed at achieving a two-way trade target of US$1,000 billion in 2020.

The leaders adopted four important documents: 1) Joint Statement of the 19th ASEAN-China Summit to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations; 2) Joint Statement between ASEAN and China on Production Capacity Cooperation; 3) Joint Statement on the Observance of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea in the South China Sea; and 4) Guidelines for Hotline Communications Among Senior Officials of the Ministries of the Foreign Affairs of ASEAN Member States and China in Response to Maritime Emergencies in the Implementation of the Declaration on the Code of Parties in the South China Sea.

These documents will serve as a fundamental basis for ASEAN-China cooperation in the future.

ASEAN and China agreed to continue with commemorative activities and agreed to designate 2017 as the year of ASEAN-China Tourism Cooperation.

At the 19th ASEAN-Japan Summit, ASEAN leaders thanked Japan for its significant contributions to ASEAN Community building efforts, particularly Japan’s assistance in the area of human resource development, capacity building for ASEAN SMEs, and implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration.

Japan renewed its commitment to support ASEAN connectivity and narrowing the development gap in ASEAN through the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration Work Plan (2016-2020), including Japan’s new initiative of Partnership for Quality Infrastructure, which aims to provide funding sources for infrastructure projects in the region.

Japan will also provide assistance to ASEAN for human resource development, health, women’s and children’s development, education innovation, and other fields.

Leaders of ASEAN and the Republic of Korea agreed to enhance cooperation in SME development, business-to-business linkages, connectivity, tourism and other areas in order to achieve a two-way trade volume of US$200 billion in 2020.

The two sides emphasised the importance of expanding cultural cooperation and agreed to work closely in implementing the ASEAN-ROK Cultural Exchange Year and to officially launch the ASEAN Culture House in Busan, Republic of Korea in 2017.

Leaders from ASEAN and Australia convened the First ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit following the elevation of ASEAN-Australia Dialogue Relations and noted with satisfaction the progress of ASEAN-Australia cooperation over the last four decades.

Particularly of note was Australia’s assistance and support for education institutional capacity building for the ASEAN Secretariat, regional integration, connectivity, and narrowing development gaps. ASEAN and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Partnership for mutual benefits.

During the meeting, leaders adopted the ASEAN-Australia Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism.

In the 8th ASEAN-UN Summit, participants noted the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership between ASEAN and the UN (2016-2020) and agreed to foster closer cooperation and coordination between the ASEAN Secretariat and the UN Secretariat to ensure its effective implementation.

ASEAN leaders and the UN Secretary-General also stressed the need to deepen partnerships in the effort to align the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

During discussions at the 19th ASEAN Plus Three Summit (APT), the leaders of ASEAN and the Plus Three countries (China, Japan, ROK) underlined the importance of enhancing cooperation including through strengthening the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation, ASEAN Plus Three Microeconomic Research Office, the Asian Bond Market Initiative, Credit Guarantee Investment Facility, and the APT Emergency Rice Reserve.

The APT leaders also noted the Progress Report on the Status of Action Plans for Recommendations of the East Asia Group and adopted two statements, namely the ASEAN Plus Three Statement on Promoting Sustainable Development initiated by Laos and the ASEAN Plus Three Statement on Active Ageing.

These two statements will provide strategic platforms for APT countries to further strengthen cooperation in promoting sustainable development and the well-being of people in the region.

The leaders also discussed various activities to commemorate the 20th anniversary of APT cooperation in 2017.


Source: Vientiane Times