1. The EAS Ministers’ Informal Consultations was held on 21 July 2010 in Vietnam. The Consultations were chaired by H.E. Dr. Pham Gia Khiem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
2. The Ministers were pleased with the achievements made within the EAS framework, especially in the five priority areas, namely: finance, energy, education, avian flu prevention and disaster management. In view of the 5th anniversary of the EAS, the Ministers stressed the importance of further strengthening the EAS process through stock-taking, emphasizing the fundamental principles of the EAS and charting out its future direction. In this connection, they agreed to recommend that the 5th EAS issue a statement in October 2010.
3. The Ministers noted the initiatives being undertaken to move forward broader regional integration by considering the recommendations of both the East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA) and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA) studies together. They took note the Informal EAS Finance Ministers Meeting (FMM) in Tashkent on 2 May 2010 and noted the views expressed by some Members on possible future meetings of Finance Ministers. They welcomed the outcomes of the second EAS Workshop on Trade Finance which was held on 13-14 May 2010 in Sydney, Australia. They agreed to Australia’s proposal for a second financial sector capacity building program focused on structuring and restructuring financial markets, phase one of which was delivered in Vientiane on 29 June – 2 July 2010. They noted ASEAN’s continuing efforts and appreciated ASEAN’s close consultations with relevant dialogue partners in this regard.
4. The Ministers welcomed the effective contributions of the Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) in enhancing regional economic integration, bridging development gaps and promoting connectivity for both ASEAN and EAS countries.
5. The Ministers agreed on greater regional cooperation on energy security. They appreciated the efforts of the EAS Energy Cooperation Task Force (ECTF) to address market barriers and promote more transparent energy trade and investments. They were of the view that EAS participating countries could also consider, among others, dialogue and communication between energy producers and consumers, encouraging the private sector to participate in the development of new and renewable energy sources like hydro-power and biofuels to reduce their reliance in fossil fuel.
6. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of education as one of the most crucial vehicles in promoting human resources development, bridging the development gap and enhancing regional competitiveness. They noted the proposal to convene an EAS Education Ministers Meeting in 2011. They welcomed the First Regional Workshop of the EAS Education Cooperation Task Force on Educational Cooperation in East Asia Summit Countries for Regional Competitiveness and Community Building on 10-12 May 2010 at the ASEAN Secretariat and looked forward to the Second Workshop scheduled for 27-28 September 2010 in Thailand and the Forum on Higher Education Cooperation to be held in October 2010 in Kunming, China, to recommend concrete projects and activities for EAS education cooperation. They expressed their support for the establishment of the Nalanda University as a non-state, non-profit, secular and self governing international institution. They noted the outcomes of the Republic of Korea’s Special Study program for the University Students of the EAS on 30 May – 6 June 2010 in Seoul. They welcomed suggestions on the establishment of other centres of educational excellence in EAS countries to improve access to quality education in the region. They welcomed the progress in the implementation of the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths which have invited more than 20000 youths in three years and China’s initiative to provide 2000 government scholarships and 200 MPA scholarships for developing countries in the EAS in the next five years. They shared the importance of promoting science and innovation cooperation and noted Japan’s initiative to build an “East Asia Science & Innovation Area”, which is aimed at raising the capability of R&D and addressing common problems in the region, as a long term vision and aspiration.
7. The Ministers reaffirmed shared commitments to increasing collaboration in the fight against Influenza A (H1N1) and other pandemics, including sharing information, establishing more regional stockpiles of essential medical supplies and assisting one another in acquiring cheaper medicines and pandemic influenza vaccines.
8. The Ministers reaffirmed climate change as one of the key areas of concern for the EAS which requires urgent concerted actions at national, regional and international levels. They noted with appreciation the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Joint Response to Climate Change at the 16th ASEAN Summit and shared the view that efforts need to be taken to work toward a positive outcome at COP-16/CMP-6 (November 2010, Mexico). They welcomed the convening of the 2nd EAS Environment Ministers Meeting in October 2010 in Brunei Darussalam and second EAS seminar on Capacity Building for Climate Change Adaptation in March 2010 in Beijing and supported the realisation of the outcome of the 1st EAS Environment Ministers’ Meeting in October 2008 regarding the proposal to establish an East Asia Environmental Education Center in Viet Nam. They agreed to work further on the initiative to convene an East Asia Forum on Climate Change as proposed by Viet Nam.
9. The Ministers reiterated the need to enhance disaster management cooperation and appreciated the efforts of Australia in designing the seven Proposals on EAS Disaster Response Initiative. They agreed that Australia will further develop the proposals and contribute to the Work Plan of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER). They welcomed the International Seminar on the Social Mobilisation Mechanism for Massive Disaster and Formulation of Energy Laws and Regulations. They looked forward to the full operation of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance in Disaster Management (AHA) in Jakarta and appreciated the expressed support of the EAS participants.
10. Acknowledging that terrorism and its linkage with transnational organized crimes form part of a complex set of new security challenges, the Ministers underscored the necessity to further enhance efforts to address them urgently in all aspects and in all fora. They stressed the leading role of the UN in the fight against terrorism.
11. The Ministers emphasized the importance of promoting cooperation on maritime security. In this regard, they welcomed the establishment of ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) which would contribute to the development of a regional comprehensive approach to maritime security. They noted that the 1st Meeting of the AMF would be held on 28-29 July 2010 in Surabaya, Indonesia.
12. The Ministers welcomed the expressed interest of the Russian Federation and the United States to join the East Asia Summit (EAS) and supported ASEAN’s decision on the matter. In this regard, they noted that ASEAN Foreign Ministers would recommend to the ASEAN Leaders at the 17th ASEAN Summit in Ha Noi in October 2010 to formally make the decision to invite the Russian Federation and the United States to join the EAS with appropriate arrangements and timing. They emphasized that such arrangements should be based on the promotion of the existing EAS agenda and priorities. In this connection, they reaffirmed ASEAN centrality as well as the established objectives and principles of the EAS as a Leaders-led forum.
13. The Ministers had a wide-ranging and fruitful exchange of views on regional and international issues of mutual interest. In the context of global uneven and risk-prone economic recovery, the Ministers were of the view that the EAS participating countries can play an important role in the region’s efforts in restoring financial stability and generating sustainable economic growth and development, and in further enhancing regional financial cooperation. They noted with appreciation the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Sustained Recovery and Development at the 16th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi, April 2010. They welcomed the chairmanship of the Republic of Korea in the G-20 Summit in Seoul this November. Recognising the central role of ASEAN in the region and its constructive contributions, they expressed their support for the Chairman of ASEAN to participate in the aforesaid G-20 Summit, and for the continued participation of the ASEAN Chairman in the future G-20 Summits on regular basis.
14. They also welcomed the good outcomes of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia 2010 (6-7 June 2010, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), which focused on how to enhance Asia leadership, particularly in the global financial architecture and international trade, regional connectivity.
15. The Ministers noted with interest ASEAN’s initiative to develop a Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity. In this regard, they also noted the implementation of Japan’s “Growth Initiative towards Doubling the Size of Asia’s Economy. They expressed the hope that ERIA in cooperation with ADB and ASEAN Secretariat would finalize the draft “Comprehensive Asia Development Plan” and submit a report on the Plan to the 5th EAS.
16. The Ministers deplored the sinking of the Cheonan ship of the Republic of Korea on 26 March 2010, resulting in the tragic loss of lives. They extended their deep sympathy and condolences to the people and Government of the ROK and welcomed the restraint shown by the ROK. In this connection, they expressed support for the 9 July 2010 United Nations Security Council Presidential Statement, which included the Council’s condemnation of the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan ship.
17. The Ministers stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region, and called on the concerned parties to resolve all disputes by peaceful means. They reaffirmed their support for the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and encouraged the parties to return to the Six Party Talks in due course. They also stressed the need to fully implement the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. They also emphasized the importance of addressing the issue of humanitarian concerns of the international community.
18. The Ministers were updated by Myanmar on the progress of preparations for holding the elections in Myanmar in 2010 leading to a constitutional government. They underscored the importance of national reconciliation in Myanmar and the holding of the elections in a free, fair, and inclusive manner, thus contributing to Myanmar’s stability and development.
19. The Ministers looked forward to their next Meeting in July 2011 in Indonesia.