The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005

The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005

URL (Internet address) : http://www.eu2005.lu/en/actualites/communiques/2005/05/07asem-final/

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Press Release
Chairman's Statement of the 7th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Kyoto, 6-7 May 2005

Date of release : 07-05-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of Foreign Ministers


Introduction

1. The Seventh ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (FMM7) was held in Kyoto, Japan on 6-7 May 2005, under the chairmanship of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Nobutaka Machimura.

2. Cooperation among the ASEM partners, which now represent about 40% of the population, 50% of GDP, and 60% of trade in today’s world, is becoming increasingly important in addressing key global issues the international community is facing. Based on such recognition, and following the guidance given by the Leaders at the Fifth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM5) in Hanoi to revitalise the ASEM process, the Ministers held active and fruitful discussions on issues in which they have a common interest, including strengthening of multilateralism, sustainable development and dialogue among cultures and civilisations, under the theme “Deepening of Asia-Europe Dialogue on Global Challenges".

3. The Ministers expressed their determination in Kyoto to strengthen the cooperation between Asia and Europe through ASEM in tackling global challenges, and welcomed the “Asia-Europe Partnership to Tackle Global Challenges". Recognising the importance of focusing ASEM activities on the areas described hereafter, and bearing in mind the agenda adopted at ASEM5, the Ministers invited other ASEM ministerial meetings to hold their discussions with a similar focus in their respective areas of responsibility.

Strengthening multilateralism: Adressing security threats and challenges, as well as regional and international issues

4. The Ministers confirmed the commitment to multilateralism and to a fair, just and rule-based international order with the United Nations (UN) playing the central role to effectively address new global challenges and threats. They reiterated their commitment to make utmost efforts to ensure the success of the High-Level Plenary Meeting in September and to support the reform of the UN. They concurred in the need for comprehensive and intensive discussion on various aspects of the reform, as referred to in the Secretary General’s Report entitled “In Larger Freedom". In this vein, they reaffirmed their determination to contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and stressed the necessity of reforming the UN’s principal organs including the General Assembly and the Security Council with a view to strengthening and enhancing the representativeness, transparency and effectiveness of the UN system. They took note with interest of the recommendations on the Peace-building Commission and of the ongoing discussion on humanitarian reform and the UN’s human rights organs/mechanisms.

5. The Ministers reiterated the importance of strengthening efforts on disarmament and non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery as well as related materials and technology in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1540 to prevent proliferation. To this end, they underlined the need to promote universalisation and domestic implementation of treaties and norms in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation with, inter alia, enhanced export control systems, and decided to make utmost efforts to ensure the success of the 2005 NPT Review Conference being held in New York.

6. The Ministers called upon all states to accede to, ratify and implement all of the 12 international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols as a matter of urgency, and implement relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. They welcomed the adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism in April, and expressed their strong support for concluding the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism before the end of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly. They stressed the need to further promote the development of counter-terrorism capacity in the countries fighting against terrorism and requiring assistance in this area, while acknowledging the ASEM Seminar on Anti-terrorism held in Berlin in October 2004, and looking forward to the next such seminar in Indonesia in September 2005. They bore in mind that all counter-terrorism measures should be adopted and undertaken in full respect of international law, in particular international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law. The Ministers renewed their intention to combine their efforts in the fight against money-laundering and terrorism-financing by ensuring, to this end, the full implementation of the relevant international standards and conventions.

7. While recognising the significance of the conclusions of the Eleventh Congress of the UN on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in Bangkok from 18 to 25 April 2005, the Ministers underlined their commitment to conclude treaties related to transnational organised crimes, such as the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, against Corruption as well as conventions on illicit drugs, and to strict compliance with these treaties. They underlined the efforts of ASEM countries on preventing trafficking in human, especially women and children. They stressed the importance to extend necessary support to the countries requiring assistance for capacity-building in law enforcement and judicial institutions to combat organised crime. Recognising the importance of mitigating threats posed on the Sea Lane of Communication between Asia and Europe, they underscored the necessity to strengthen cooperation, including assistance for capacity-building of coastal states, to ensure maritime security and safety of the maritime transportation. They confirmed their commitment to enhance cooperation for preventing trafficking of illicit small arms and light weapons (SALW), especially towards the adoption of an international instrument for the timely and reliable identification and tracing of illicit SALW to the agreed schedule.

8. In connection with the strengthening of multilateralism, the Ministers exchanged views on the following:

  • The Ministers deepened their understanding through exchange of views on the development of regional integration in Asia and Europe: ASEAN+3 cooperation, the movement towards an East Asian community (EAc) and the East Asia Summit (EAS), as well as development in further EU integration and enlargement.
  • On the Korean Peninsula, expressing deep concern over the DPRK Foreign Ministry's February 10th statement, the Ministers strongly urged the DPRK to return to the negotiating table of the Six-Party Talks without any further delay, and to make a strategic decision so as to achieve the denuclearization of the Peninsula in a peaceful manner through dialogue. For the peace and stability of the Peninsula and the region at large, they encouraged the parties concerned to continue to take coordinated steps to address the nuclear issue and address all related concerns.
  • Recalling that the ongoing Middle East peace process provides a historical opportunity for realisation of two states living side by side in peace and security, the Ministers stressed that it is crucial for both the Israeli and Palestinian sides to implement without delay their obligations under the Road Map and the mutual commitments manifested at the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit, and that the international community should enhance its support to this end.
  • The Ministers stressed the need to provide the support for the success of the Afghan parliamentary and provincial elections scheduled on 18 September. They reaffirmed the continued commitment of the international community to reconstruction and stabilisation including counter-narcotics, the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants, the formation of the Afghan National Army and police force as well as judicial reform, and that this commitment would continue beyond the formal completion of the Bonn Process.
  • The Ministers welcomed the progress in the Iraqi political process on the basis of the UNSCR 1546, in particular the formation of a transitional government on 28 April. Taking note of the importance of positive interaction between improvement of the security situation and recovery of the economy brought about by the development of the political process, they encouraged concerted efforts by the international community for further assistance to the Iraqi transitional government and the Iraqi people.
  • The Ministers welcomed the entry into force of the UN-Cambodian Agreement on the Khmer Rouge Trial and looked forward to the prompt start of the Trial.
  • The Ministers took note of the briefings by the representative of Myanmar on the recent developments in the country. The Ministers also took note of the concerns over the current situation and renewed their expectations for lifting of all restrictions and development of democratisation process at the earliest possible time which involves all the parties concerned.   Recognising the role of the UN, they called upon the Government to grant access to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and continue cooperation with other relevant UN agencies.

Promoting partnership for human-centred and sustainable development

9. The Ministers discussed the need for human-centred and sustainable development including the environment and energy security.

10. The Ministers reiterated that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol have established an effective framework and rules for international cooperation in addressing climate change. Welcoming the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, they encouraged its parties to fulfil their commitment and to make effective use of the Kyoto Mechanisms, and urged the countries that have not yet concluded the Kyoto Protocol to do so as soon as possible. The Ministers expressed the need to ensure the widest possible participation of countries in the Kyoto Protocol and, in the Post-2012 framework, to achieve an effective, cost-efficient and appropriate international response, in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. They underlined the need for early consultations on actions after 2012, and the need to advance discussion on the post-2012 regime at the next UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 11) with a view to initiating negotiations on a future framework.

11. The Ministers expressed their belief that the development of cleaner and more efficient technologies will contribute to improving a balance between economic growth and environmental conservation. Taking note of the Ministerial Conference on the 3R(Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Initiative in Tokyo, they decided to strive towards building a sound material-cycle society, for more sustainable patterns of production and consumption, including through a major shift to delivering new products and services with lower environmental impacts across their lifecycles.

12. The Ministers drew particular attention to the impact that illegal logging has on environmental degradation and climate systems, and called on both producer and consumer countries to strengthen their efforts to prevent illegal logging. They also noted the need for cooperation to prevent forest fire. The Ministers acknowledged the importance of enhancing the protection of the marine environment and promoting sustainable use of its resources.

13. The Ministers expressed concern over the impacts of continued high oil prices on global economic growth. While anticipating increasing demand for energy especially in Asia, they recognised the particular importance of enhancing energy security through energy conservation, improvement of energy efficiency and wider use of alternative energy sources, including nuclear power in those countries having chosen nuclear power as an option.

 14. The Ministers shared the view that in achieving the MDGs and the goals contained in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, there is a considerable scope for further dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe as successfully demonstrated by this meeting. In the light of the successful economic development in Asia through self-sustained growth led by trade and investment, they underlined the importance of South-South cooperation involving emerging donor countries, along with continued support by traditional donors. In this regard, the Ministers welcomed the outcome of the Asia-Africa Summit held in Indonesia in April 2005. The importance of the 2005 UN Summit Meeting providing renewed impetus to the process of achieving the MDGs was also stressed. They reiterated their commitment to a successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO, and stressed the importance of well-balanced and ambitious results of the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference in December 2005.

15. For ensuring sustainable development, the Ministers discussed the need for protecting people from, and empowering them to deal with various threats including natural disasters, infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, poverty and conflicts. The Ministers stressed the importance of cooperation in building human and institutional capacity to empower people to combat and successfully deal with various threats affecting their lives. Emphasising the critical role of education in development, they reaffirmed their determination to implement the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The Ministers welcomed the support of the countries and peoples of Asia and Europe for the tsunami-affected countries. They appreciated the unprecedented wave of solidarity across the world following the disaster, and welcomed the initiative to establish regional early warning systems in accordance with national priorities and under the coordination of relevant UN agencies. 

Enhancing dialogue among the cultures and civilisations

16. Underlining the importance of respecting cultural diversity and preserving cultural heritages, the Ministers reaffirmed their willingness to promote further dialogue among cultures and civilisations. In this context, special references were made to the ASEM Youth Games (Bangkok, 2-8 June 2005), the Second ASEM Conference on Cultures and Civilisations (Paris, 7-8 June 2005) and the ASEM Interfaith Dialogue (Bali, 21-22 July 2005). They also expressed their intention to contribute to the successful conclusion of the convention on cultural diversity, under negotiation at UNESCO.

17. Appreciating the contribution made by ASEF in the cultural area, the Ministers stressed the importance of closer alignment of its activities to ASEM priorities as well as the sound budgetary and organisational management of ASEF.

Future of ASEM

18. Following the tasks assigned by the Leaders at ASEM5, the Ministers discussed the future of ASEM: areas of substantive cooperation, improvement of the efficiency of ASEM institutional mechanisms, and future membership/enlargement (See Annex). In this connection, the Ministers welcomed and endorsed the initiative by Finland and Japan to commission a critical review of the 10 years of ASEM as an input to ASEM6.

ASEM initiatives

19. The Ministers also welcomed and endorsed the following new initiatives:

  • ASEM Oceans Initiative
  • ASEM Prosecutors-General Conference
  • ASEM workshop on community-level actions for global environmental agenda
  • ASEM workshop on strengthening human resources through vocational education and training
  • ASEM Diplomatic Academies Network

20. As a follow up to the discussion at ASEM5, the Ministers welcomed a proposal to hold a ministerial meeting on labour and employment issues.

Future Meetings

21. The Ministers agreed to hold the Eighth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Europe in 2007. The Ministers looked forward to ASEM6 in Finland in 2006 and welcomed China’s offer to hold ASEM7 in 2008.

Kyoto, Japan,

7 May 2005.

Annex: Summary of Discussions on the Future of ASEM

Following the tasks assigned by the Leaders at the Fifth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM5) in Hanoi, October 2004, and based on the discussions at Senior Officials level, the Foreign Ministers discussed three issues related to the future of ASEM at the Seventh Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (FMM7) in Kyoto, May 2005: areas of substantive cooperation, improvement of the efficiency of ASEM institutional mechanisms, and future membership/enlargement, and agreed on the following points. The Senior Officials will draft recommendations to the Leaders based on these points along with the inputs from other ASEM Ministerial Meetings. 

1. Areas of Substantive Cooperation

- A small number of areas should be the subject of substantive cooperation through the ASEM process, with specific goals and result-oriented programmes/projects. From FMM7 to ASEM6, reflecting on the discussions at FMM7 and based on the “Asia-Europe Partnership to Tackle Global Challenges", the following will be considered as priorities.  It is recommended that the Leaders discuss at ASEM6 the progress made on substantive cooperation in these areas:

Political: strengthening multilateralism and addressing security threats

Economic: sustainable development (including environment and energy security)

Cultural, Social and Others: dialogue among cultures and civilisations

- Upcoming Financial and Economic Ministers’ Meetings are invited to decide on prioritised areas in their respective mandates to follow up on the “Hanoi Declaration on Closer ASEM Economic Partnership"

- From now on, the plenary SOM preceding a Summit Meeting should finalise discussions on the areas of substantive cooperation and related programmes/projects for the next two years, to be approved at the Summit Meeting.

- Free discussions from broad perspectives should take place at Summit Meetings and Foreign Ministers’ Meetings under cross-pillar themes.

2. Improvement of the Efficiency of ASEM Institutional Mechanisms

While the Senior Officials are to continue their discussions on the issue, the following measures should be taken before ASEM6:

- The setting up of an ASEM Virtual Secretariat, a closed intranet system to enhance coordination and information sharing among ASEM partners.

- Closer coordination between the incumbent and the next chairs of the Summit Meeting and Foreign Ministers’ Meeting should be made on priority areas to be discussed at these meetings, having due regard to the role of the coordinators. 

- Substantive policy discussions should take place at every SOM.

- ASEM-related meetings, initiatives, programmes and projects should be publicised more actively through ASEM InfoBoard. The relevant information should be promptly reported to SOM, SOMTI, Finance Deputies Meeting and other meetings as appropriate.

3. Future Membership/Enlargement

The Senior Officials are to continue their discussions based on the following guidance and make recommendations to allow the Leaders to take a decision at ASEM6.

- Along with deepening dialogue and cooperation through ASEM, ASEM partners should seek to achieve a common understanding on the future membership in light of the open and evolutionary nature of the ASEM process. AECF2000 and the Chairman’s Statement of ASEM5 will continue to be the basis of the discussion.


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Last update of this page on : 07-05-2005