Co-Chairs Statement

1. The 2nd ASEAN-Canada Dialogue was held on April 4, 2005 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Dialogue was preceded by a Retreat at Whistler on April 3, 2005. Delegations from ASEAN Member Countries and Canada, and the ASEAN Secretariat attended the Meeting and Retreat.

2. The Meeting was co-chaired by His Excellency David Mulroney, Assistant Deputy Minister (Bilateral Relations), Foreign Affairs Canada, and the Honourable Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam.

3. In his welcoming remarks, His Excellency David Mulroney, Assistant Deputy Minister (Bilateral Relations), expressed Canada’s pleasure in hosting the Meeting and thanked His Excellency Ong Keng Yong, Secretary-General of ASEAN for his participation. His Excellency David Mulroney noted that last year’s Dialogue represented a watershed, being the first time that both sides had formally met at senior officials’ level in seven years. He further noted the success of the ASEAN-Canada Partnership Symposium, held on 15 February 2005, and thanked Brunei Darussalam for their assistance as Canada’s ASEAN Coordinating Country, which had helped to make the dialogue possible. His Excellency further looked forward to upcoming events such as the inaugural ASEAN-Canada Senior Economic Officials’ Meeting and Business Forum, to be held in Toronto in May 2-4, 2005 and the launch of the joint analytical study on ASEAN-Canada trade and investment.

4. In his opening remarks, the Honourable Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng highlighted that the Dialogue had paved the way in revitalising and enhancing ASEAN-Canada relations. He also welcomed recent progress in the relations, in particular the successful convening of the ASEAN-Canada Partnership Symposium in Brunei Darussalam. The Honourable Pehin also welcomed the outcome of the visit by a representative from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to the ASEAN Secretariat in February 2005 as a useful way to enhance the understanding of both sides in developing and implementing specific areas for cooperation.

5. The Meeting was briefed on key developments in Canada and in ASEAN over the past year. ASEAN briefed Canada on the outcome of the 10th ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, 29 November 2004. This included the adoption of the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP), a broad-based six-year plan aimed at realizing ASEAN’s integration vision and the plans of action of the ASEAN Security Community and ASEAN Socio-cultural Community in order to realize the ASEAN Community. Canada noted and welcomed ASEAN’s efforts to strengthen its relations with its Dialogue Partners, as evidenced by the accession of a number of them to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.
6. Canada informed ASEAN on its economic growth, the National Security Policy, 2005 budget, and upcoming Foreign Policy Statement. Canada also informed the Meeting on its response to the tsunami crisis. In the ensuing discussion, there was an understanding that the continued support by the international community must be further strengthened, including the development of a tsunami early warning system.

7. The Meeting exchanged views on economic issues and stressed the need for closer economic cooperation between ASEAN and Canada, which would contribute positively to the economic growth of both sides. In this regard, the Meeting welcomed the upcoming ASEAN-Canada Senior Economic Officials’ Meeting and Business Forum. The Meeting also received an update on Canada’s joint analytical study on ASEAN-Canada trade and investment, coordinated by and including contributors from the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, as well as the ASEAN Secretariat and distinguished Southeast Asian scholars.

8. The Meeting also exchanged views on WTO issues, and noted the importance of an ambitious outcome to the Doha Round, as it provides a vital framework for trade liberalization amongst its members, and of concluding the negotiations by the agreed deadline. The Meeting noted the necessity of continuing engagement in Geneva, and at the political level, as work proceed on a July quotations “first approximation” of Ministerial text, in order to ensure success at the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, China in December 2005. The Meeting expressed continuing support for the early accession of Viet Nam and Lao PDR to the WTO. The Meeting discussed issues related to the evolving role and agenda of APEC, and Canada expressed its willingness to continue its cooperation with ASEAN Member Countries in the context of APEC.

9. The Meeting had an extensive discussion on the future direction of ASEAN-Canada relations and agreed to work towards a partnership for peace and prosperity that would ensure an enduring and sustainable cooperation between both sides. In an effort to deepen and substantiate the partnership, both sides agreed that a plan of action would be developed to implement cooperation activities.

10. The Meeting agreed that both sides undertake cooperation in areas such as disaster management, transnational health, environment and the promotion of interfaith dialogue including with Islamic communities in the region.

11. Recommendations resulting from the ASEAN-Canada Partnership Symposium were discussed including opportunities for cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. Canada pointed out its strong links with Southeast Asia through its population, as well as international education and cultural activities. The Meeting agreed that there was considerable scope for cooperation and that it was therefore timely to explore ways to further enrich these aspects of the ASEAN-Canada relations.

12. The Meeting exchanged views on important global and regional issues, including United Nations reform, the Middle East Peace Process and the situation in East Asia, including the Korean Peninsula.

13. Both sides offered their perspectives on the recent report from the UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes as well as the UN Secretary-General’s Report entitled “In Larger Freedom Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All”. The Meeting expressed its continued support towards the UN’s initiative to be a more streamlined, efficient and effective organization.

14. The Meeting agreed that the Middle East issue was crucial to the peace and security of the region and the world at large. Despite some positive progress in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and developments in Iraq, the situation in the region remained volatile. On the Palestine-Israeli conflict, the Meeting welcomed the recent Israeli withdrawals from parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. At the same time, the Meeting agreed that joint efforts undertaken to resolve the conflict must make a qualitative difference.

15. On Iraq, the Meeting welcomed the outcome of the January 2005 general elections while agreeing that the process for peace and stability would be long. In this respect, the Meeting also agreed that the UN should play a central role in the reconstruction of Iraq, with the support of the international community.

16. The Meeting emphasized the importance of a peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula to regional peace and stability, and further expressed hope for the renewal of the six-party talks to negotiate a solution to the nuclear crisis. The Meeting further welcomed the exchanges which have taken place on this issue in past meetings of the ASEAN Regional Forum and agreed to continue this form of discussion and cooperation.

17. The Meeting further discussed various non-traditional security issues such as counter terrorism, transnational crimes including human trafficking, illicit drug-trafficking and money laundering, and transnational health threats such as HIV/AIDS, SARS and Avian Influenza.

18. The Meeting agreed that combating terrorism required a comprehensive and collaborative international approach, including through regional organizations such as ASEAN and APEC. Canada welcomed ASEAN’s resolve and determination to combat international terrorism and noted the ongoing efforts to address the menace with its Dialogue Partners including through the ASEAN Regional Forum Inter-sessional Meeting on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime that Thailand would host with Canada in Bangkok, April 6-8, 2005. The Meeting agreed on the need for a collaborative cooperation on counter-terrorism and in this regard, ASEAN welcomed Canada’s offer to develop counter-terrorism capacity-building activities, as provided for in its Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program.

19. The Meeting agreed to work together to address the problem of illicit drugs from both the supply and demand sides, taking into account ASEAN’s goals to make the region free from drugs by 2015. The Meeting further looked forward to the next meeting of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering in Singapore in June 2005. Canada strongly encouraged ratification by all countries of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols. The Meeting further noted the importance of global and regional cooperation to combat the problems posed by transnational crime in all forms.

20. The Meeting underscored the importance of transnational health threats, especially HIV/AIDS and communicable diseases such as SARS and Avian Influenza which entail negative impacts on economic and social development both within the region and beyond. ASEAN’s quick responses to SARS and Avian Influenza in 2003 and 2004 respectively were evident of its commitment to address these problems. On HIV/AIDS, the 15th International AIDS Conference in Bangkok in July 2004 pronounced the importance of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Meeting agreed to promote closer cooperation between both sides in the fight against these deadly borderless diseases, especially the capacity building programmes in the region. The Meeting was informed that Canada would host the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto in August 2006.

21. The Meeting was informed that the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference with Canada and the ASEAN Regional Forum would be held on 28 and 29 July 2005, respectively, in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

22. The next ASEAN-Canada Dialogue would be held in Viet Nam at a date to be announced.

23. The Meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of Canada for its warm hospitality and for the excellent arrangements extended during the Meeting. The Meeting was conducted in a spirit of cooperation and cordiality under the chairmanship of Brunei Darussalam and Canada.