- The Eighteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur from 8 to 9 July 1985. The Meeting war formally opened by the Honourable Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia.
- The Meeting was attended by Ms Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, His Excellency Prof. Dr. Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, His Excellency Tengku Ahmad Ritihauddeen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, His Excellency Pacific. A. Castro, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines; His Excellency Suppiah Dhanabalan Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Community Development of the Republic of Singapore; His Excellency Air Chief Marshal Siddhi Savetsila, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and their respective delegations. His Excellency Pehin Dato Hj. Abd. Aziz Minister of Education and Health of Brunei Darussalam His Excellency Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, His Excellency Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs of Malaysia, His Excellency Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and for Health of the Republic of Singapore and His Excellency Dr. Chirayu Isarangkul Na Ayuthaya, Deputy Minister of Industry of Thailand also attended the Meeting.
- Excellency Phan Wannamethee, Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat, was present at the Meeting.
- His Excellency John Giheno, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Papua New Guinea, attended the open session of the Ministerial Meeting as Observer.
- The Meeting was chaired by Ms Excellency Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia. His Excellency Pacifico A. Castro Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, was elected Vice-Chairman.
- In his Opening Address, the Honourable Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia extended his arm welcome to the Foreign Ministers and their respective delegations. He noted that ASEAN which had demonstrated exceedingly good economic performances during the seventies is presently facing a time of challenge and opportunity.. He felt that as part of the engine of growth of the entire Pacific Basin and the global economic system, ASEAN should be able to confront the challenges and opportunities of the days ahead with creative dexterity, iron resolve and pragmatism. He urged the ASEAN countries to continue to find the means the to increase and expand economic cooperation within ASEAN.
- The Prime Minister felt that in facing the challenge and opportunities, the ASEAN countries should continue to ensure that ASEAN remains to be the focus of their attention and the cornerstone of their foreign policy. The ASEAN countries could resolutely work together towards increasing productivity and strengthening efficiency in the face of growing protectionism and blatant commodity market manipulation. The Prime Minister said that ASEAN should be able to respond at the governmental level and in the private sector to market changes and product demands. He felt that this would be the most opportune time to increase the level of ASEAN economic cooperation. In this regard, he urged entrepreneurs and traders in the ASEAN countries to look at and fully explore the possibilities in the ASEAN Market where vast opportunities for trade and investment exist. The Prime Minister reminded detractors not to stand in the way of greater intra-ASEAN economic cooperation although there are still various obstacles to such cooperation.
- The Prime Minister referred to the Kampuchean question which is the biggest political challenge confronting ASEAN today. He said that in spite of a lack of response to its initiatives, ASEAN should continue to exercise patience without, however, tiring of the continuous search for a just, productive and viable political solution. The Prime Minister said that basic to the problem were the questions of the end of the suffering of the Kampuchean people and the surety of Thailand’s security. The Prime Minister felt that the guarantee of viable solution to the Kampuchean problem lies in the reasonable accommodation of the vital interests of all parties to the dispute. The right to self-determination of the Kampuchean people should not be forgotten. There must also be a government of national reconciliation in a sovereign and independent state of Kampuchea in the complete absence of foreign forces. The Prime Minister urged ASEAN to continue to strive in bringing about a solution which clearly establishes the ground rules for peace in Southeast Asia and which will enhance the prospects for the realisation of a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) in the region. He called on Vietnam to realise the need to engage in meaningful dialogue with ASEAN and with the parties concerned so as to remove the impediments to peace in Kampuchea. He also called on Vietnam to respond positively to ASEAN approaches.
- The Prime Minister characterized the problem of drug abuse and illicit trafficking as the biggest social challenge facing ASEAN. He acknowledged that the ASEAN countries had undertaken great efforts in the war against the drug problem. He expressed the view that it is time to take the fight in concert in the international arena. and welcoming the timely call by the United Nations Secretary- General for the covening of World Conference of Minister on the dug problem, the Prime Minister proposed for the creation of a special United Nations authority on drugs. The Prime Minister also urged the ASEAN Dialogue countries to recognise the necessity and urgency of a concerted global war against the drug menace .
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the progress of ASEAN over the past year and were satisfied with the achievements made in the various fields of cooperation.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that during the year new policy initiatives were undertaken at the various ASEAN Ministers meetings on intra-ASEAN cooperation and on relations with ASEAN’s dialogue partners. They were confident that these initiatives would further consolidate and enhance the Association as an effective regional organisation.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction with ASEAN’s continued success in promoting regional stability and closer cooperation among member countries. They also expressed their satisfaction that the activities of ASEAN have continued to be guided by the common goals as set out in the Bangkok Declaration and the Bali Concord.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the decision of the Seventeenth ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting to study measures to accelerate intra-ASEAN trade including greater utilization of the Preferential Trading Arrangements. They also concurred that the inclusion of more items under the ASEAN Industrial Joint Ventures scheme would further enhance economic cooperation among member countries.
- The Foreign Ministers, welcomed the increasing interest of the ASEAN Private sector in promoting and strengthening ASEAN economic cooperation. They appreciated the efforts of the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry in promoting economic and industrial cooperation. They called upon the private sector to continue to work closely with the ASEAN governments, in the attainment of ASEAN’s objectives and aspirations.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the contributions of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation, ASEAN Law Association, ASEAN Insurance Council, Medical Association of ASEAN and their nongovernmental organisations towards enhancing cooperation in various field.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed the hope that, with the signing of the Agreement on the Recognition of Domestic Driving Licences in ASEAN Countries, a greater movement of people within ASEAN would be facilitated thereby contributing to the expansion of intra-ASEAN business and tourism. They also expressed satisfaction that increased cooperation in the areas of shipping, air services, post and telecommunication would promote the development of transport and communication thus contributing further towards ASEAN cooperation.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the results of the Second ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Environment and observed that the programes and activities in this field had created considerable awareness regarding protection and enhancement of the quality of the environment in the ASEAN region. They were confident that with the signing of the Agreement on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, better conservation and management of national parks and reserves in member countries would be achieved.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the implementation of the adopted Recommendations on ASEAN Cooperation of the ASEAN Task Force.
Cooperation with Dialogue Countries
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed relations with Australia, Canada, the European Communities, Japan, New Zealand, the United States and UNDP, and felt that although understanding was reached in many areas, there was a continuos need for ASEAN to study closely the relationship with these dialogue countries particularly in the economic and commercial areas, They reaffirmed the view that in these relationships, ASEAN should focus on the important objectives of securing improved market access, ensuring better terms of trade, attracting investment, effecting transfer of technology and promoting operation in tourism.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the results of programmes and projects undertaken with Australia in the food and agricultural fields and the potential for further cooperation and collaboration in the fields of science and technology, and energy development. Nevertheless, they expressed the view that Australia should be more receptive to ASEAN’s request for greater market access.
- With respect to Canada, the Foreign Ministers noted the progress made in agriculture, forestry ad energy cooperation. They expressed the view that further efforts should be made towards increasing trade, investment and transfer of technology between ASEAN and Canada.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the results of the Fifth ASEAN – EC Ministerial Meeting held in Dublin in November 1984 ad looked forward to greater support from the EC in the fields of training, science and technology and investment in the spirit of the Dublin Communiqué. The Foreign Ministers expressed the hope that the ASEAN – EC Ministerial Meeting on Economic Matters in Bangkok in October 1985 would result in more effective economic cooperation between ASEAN and the EC.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed Japan’s support for several ASEAN projects particularly in culture and youth programmes. Nevertheless, they expressed the view that the ASEAN – Japan Forum should be geared towards- achieving greater mutuality of benefits in the areas of trade, investment and transfer of technology. In this regard, the Foreign Ministers noted that the Second ASEAN – Japan Economic Ministers Meeting in June 198S, provided the opportunity for advancing cooperative relations between ASEAN and Japan. While welcoming the inclusion of some products of interest to ASEAN in Japan’s latest Outline of the Action Programme Concerning Tariffs, they reiterated that ASEAN’s other concerns on tariff and non-tariff barriers as well as on GSP should also be taken into account in Japan’s market opening measures.
- The Foreign Minister stressed the importance ASEAN places on the principle of ASEAN unity. They also stressed the value they placed in the various GSP Schemes and hoped that all GSP – donor countries would consult ASEAN on any problems that may arise from the implementation of their existing Schemes. In this correction the Foreign Ministers regretted that New Zealand’s – decision in December 1984 which had the effect of excluding certain ASEAN countries from its GSP Scheme was made without prior consultations within the ASEAN – New Zealand Dialogue, which has always included GSP as a. agenda item. They felt that New Zealand’s use of per capita GNP as the sole criterion to determine a country’s level of development and hence its GSP beneficiary status was not suitable, They expressed dissatisfaction with New Zealand’s decision to proceed with its policy despite ASEAN’s repeated representations. However, they noted that New Zealand had subsequently held talks with ASEAN and that New Zealand had agreed to consider reinstating individual tariff items for products from ASEAN at the developing country rate. The Foreign Ministers look forward to an expeditious and satisfactory outcome and, in this respect, hope that New Zealand would take urgent action to reinstate all items of interest to ASEAN in the GSP Scheme.
- The Foreign Ministers concurred that progress had been achieved in the dialogue with the United States as evidenced by the encouraging growth in trade and investment between ASEAN and the US, and expressed the view that further improvements could be made in these areas. They welcomed the willingness of the US to cooperate with ASEAN with regard to the disposal of tin from the General Services Administration stockpile. They urged the United States to exercise flexibility and fairness in the implementation of the US Trade and Tariff Act of 1984 so as not to obstruct market access of ASEAN products in the US They appreciated the readiness of the US to extend development cooperation, particularly in health and education.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that the present cycle of UNDP project assistance to the ASEAN countries would come to an end in July 1986 and urged the UNDP not to reduce the level of its financial allocation to ASEAN in the 1987 – 1991 cycle.
- The Foreign Ministers agreed that the rotation of coordinating countries of ASEAN dialogues be implemented after the Post Ministerial Conferences of the 18th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.
Situation in Kampuchea
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the situation in Kampuchea and expressed their deep concern at the continued illegal occupation of Kampuchea by Vietnamese military forces which posed a serious threat to the peace and stability of Southeast Asia.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the validity of the Appeal for Kampuchean Independence of 21 September 1983 and reiterated their call for a comprehensive political settlement in Kampuchea which would have its primary objective the restoration of the independence and sovereignty of Kampuchea following total withdrawal of foreign forces, the exercise of self-determination and the achievement of national reconciliation in Kampuchea.
- The Foreign Ministers deplored Vietnam’s recent dry- season offensive along the Thai-Kampuchean border which had resulted in untold hardship and suffering for hundreds of thousands of displaced Kampucheans who had been compelled to seek refuge in Thailand. They noted with concern the particular severity and scope of the offensive and expressed deep regret and disappointment at Vietnam’s persistent pursuit of a military solution in Kampuchea. Such military actions belied Vietnam’s own professions for a negotiated solution of the Kampuchean problem and went against the appeals for restraint made to Vietnam by the international community.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their serious concern Over the fact that in carrying out the offensive, Vietnamese troops had committed recurrent acts of unprovoked aggression along the Thai-Kampuchean border in blatant disregard for and open violation of Thailand’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They strongly condemned these illegal and hostile actions which had not only resulted in casualties and deaths among innocent Thai villagers living along the border, but also exacerbated tension in the region. They reiterated their call for Vietnam to desist from launching these provocative actions and urged the international community to continue to prevail upon Vietnam to refrain from further conducting similar actions.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed full support for Thailand’s actions in the exercise of her legitimate right of self-defence and reaffirmed their solidarity with the Government and people of Thailand in the face of such external provocations.
- The Foreign Ministers were of the view that, Vietnam’s latest so-called annual partial withdrawal of its troops from Kampuchea in April 1985, which in fact had been mere troop rotation was another attempt by Vietnam to mislead the international community, the Kampuchean people’ and Vietnamese people.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with serious concern the oppressive conditions under which the Kampuchean people have to five, under Vietnamese occupation, especially the practice of compelling civilians to work in the war zones in the country which had caused numerous casualties. They shared the serious apprehension of the Kampuchean people about the dangers of continuing demographic changes in their country as a result of Vietnamese settlements. They also continued to be concerned at the on-going process of Vietnamization of Kampuchea. They noted that increasing dissatisfaction with Vietnamese colonization has continued to drive masses of Kampuchean people to the Thai- Kampuchean border.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their support for the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchean under the Presidency of Samdech Norodom Sihanouk whose continued leadership is an important and crucial factor in the struggle of the Kampuchean people to restore their country as an independent, sovereign, neutral and non- aligned nation. They also reaffirmed their support for President Samdech Norodom Sihanouk’s call for national reconciliation among all the Kampuchean fraction as a positive and constructive approach towards realising the objectives of self-determination, independence, sovereignty and unity of the Kampuchean people.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the increasing cooperation , unity and solidarity among the component parties of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea on all fronts in their struggle to liberate their country from Vietnamese occupation. They were particularly gratified at the steady growth and high state of morale of the resistance forces which in spite of the ferocity of the Vietnamese dry- season offensive are enjoying growing support from the Kampuchean people. They have also enhanced coordination of their actions in the field and have continued to cause serious disruption to the Vietnamese occupation forces.
- The Foreign Ministers were equally gratified and expressed deep appreciation for the ever-increasing support given by the international community to the struggle led by the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea under the Presidency of Samdech Norodom Sihanouk. This support is evidenced by the increase in the number of votes in favour of the Resolution on the Situation in Kampuchea at the 39th United Nation’s General Assembly. This demonstrated the continued overwhelming rejection by the international community of Vietnam’s policies in Kampuchea.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their statement of 11 February, 1985 issued at Bangkok and urged the international community to give greater, support to the struggle of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea. The Foreign Minister reaffirmed their intention to continue close consultations with all friendly countries on constructive approaches which would reinforce international efforts to achieve a comprehensive political settlement of the Kampuchean problem.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation to the President of the International Conference on Kampuchea, His Excellency Willibald Pahr, for his efforts towards the implementation of the objective of the ICK Declaration and Resolution. They also noted the efforts of the ICK Ad-Hoc Committee and expressed their appreciation to its Chairman, His Excellency Ambassador Massamba Sarre of Senegal and all the members of the Committee for their commitment and dedication.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their deep appreciation for the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General to find a comprehensive political settlement of the Kampuchean problem in accordance with the relevant United Nations General Assembly Resolutions. In this regard they appreciated the United Nations Secretary General’s visit to Southeast Asia early in the year ad they hoped that the Secretary General would continue to use his good offices to bring about a political settlement in Kampuchea. They welcomed the presence of the Secretary- General’s Special Representative on Humanitarian Affairs in Southeast Asia, His Excellency Rafeeuddin Ahmed, at the Eighteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the diplomatic efforts of ASEAN in its search for a comprehensive political solution to the Kampuchean problem. In continuing to pursue a military solution, Vietnam has not indicated any genuine desire for a negotiated and peaceful settlement as called for by the overwhelming majority of countries at the United Nations. All the proposals of Vietnam have been thoroughly examined by ASEAN which found them to be variations of Vietnam’s well-known positions and preconditions that have not contributed towards the comprehensive political settlement of the Kampuchean problem.
- The Foreign Ministers were determined to continue their efforts in seeking a comprehensive and lasting political solution of the Kampuchean problem as envisage by the international community. In this regard, they noted with appreciation the efforts of the Foreign Minister of Indonesia who, as the designated interlocutor of ASEAN vis-a-vis Vietnam, has endeavoured to reinforce ASEAN efforts in seeking a genuine dialogue; and at the broader level, to find a viable approach towards such a solution within a strategic framework for the future of Southeast Asia. They were also appreciative of the latest efforts in the search for apolitical settlement undertaken by the Foreign Minister of Malaysia during his Chairmanship of the ASEAN Standing Committee. In pursuit of this objective the Foreign Ministers issued a Joint Statement on 8 July 1985 calling upon Vietnam to accept the reality and strength of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea and urged Vietnam to have talks with the CGDK which might take the form of indirect or proximity talks which could be attended by representatives of Heng Samrin as part of the Vietnamese delegation.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the measures taken by Thailand to ease the tensions that had arisen as a result of the Thai-Lao border incidents last year and to restore goodwill and understanding in her relations with Laos. They welcomed Thailand’s continued adherence to the policy of resolving differences with Laos in the spirit of amity and good neighbourliness, without interference by outside powers.
- The Foreign Ministers deeply deplored the premeditated and indiscriminate attacks by the Vietnamese occupation forces against the Kampuchean civilian encampments along the Thai-Kampuchean border since November 1984. Nearly a quarter of a million Kampuchean civilians were forced to seek temporary asylum inside Thai territory while some 200,000 Thai villagers living along the Thai- Kampuchean border had to be relocated because of the intensity of the Vietnamese military operations and numerous intrusions into Thai territory.
- The Foreign Ministers took note once again that since 1978 hundreds of thousands of Indochinese refugees and displaced persons still remained in the ASEAN countries and reiterated that, ever since the first influx of the Indochinese refugees in 1975, asylum in ASEAN countries was granted on the understanding that resettlement in third countries would be guaranteed and that there would not be residual problem in the ASEAN countries. They also reiterated that Indochinese refugees and displaced persons remain a tragic international problem, which requires continuing efforts and burden sharing by the international community.
- The Foreign Ministers were in agreement that the continuing exodus of asylum seekers from Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea is evidence of the unabated hardship and suffering existing in their own countries.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that, while thousands of Vietnamese were still fleeing their own country by sea, the rate of departure had decreased over the past year, due to the Orderly Departure Programme (ODP). In this connection, they commended the efforts of UNHCR and the resettlement countries in providing the necessary assistance for the ODP and called on them as well as Vietnam to intensify their efforts and further to enhance the effectiveness of the ODP.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated their conviction that it is the inalienable right of the lndochinese refugees and displaced persons currently in neighbouring countries to return safely to their homeland and in this connection requested UNHCR to intensify its efforts in promoting voluntary repatriation for these people. The Foreign Ministers also urged the international community to render all necessary assistance to facilitate the return of these refugees.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their deep appreciation to the United Nations Secretary General for his valuable humanitarian role on behalf of the Kampuchean displaced persons along the Thai-Kampuchean border and his visit to the border area in January this year. They also noted with appreciation the effective and dedicated efforts of Mr. Tatsuro Kunugi, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance Programmes to Kampuchea. The Foreign Ministers also reiterated their appreciation for the highly valuable and necessary humanitarian work rendered by the United Nations Border Relief Operation in conjunction with World Food Programme, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross and all the voluntary agencies toward the relief of the plight of the Indochinese refugees/ displaced persons/illegal immigrants along the Thai- Kampuchean border and in the holding centres in South- east Asia, as well as the affected Thai villagers.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their profound appreciation once again for the continuing response of various governments towards easing the humanitarian needs arising from the refugee situation in Southeast Asia and appealed to them to continue and to intensify their assistance in cooperation with the agencies of the United Nations and the Secretary General’s Special Representative.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed the hope that humanitarian efforts and assistance rendered by the international community, with the coordination of the Secretary General’s Special Representative, would be directed towards relieving the plight especially of those uprooted Kampucheans along the Thai-Kampuchean border who have the greatest and the most urgent need for humanitarian assistance while the conflict in Kampuchea remained unresolved.
- Noting that the Kampuchean problem remains the principal obstacle towards the realization of ZOPFAN, the Foreign Ministers reaffirmed ASEAN’s determination to continue to pursue actively this ultimate political objective. On the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone concept, they noted with satisfaction that this concept, as a component of ZOPFAN is now under active study by the Working Group on ZOPFAN. They directed the Senior Officials and the Working Group to continue with the consideration of this subject in all its aspect, with a view to arriving at a more detailed elaboration of the principles, objectives and elements of such a Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone as well as possible ways and means of implementing it taking into account all the implication, of the matter.
- The Foreign Minister, discussed the current situation on the international drug problem and reviewed the efforts by the ASEAN countries to combat the abuse and illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs at the national, regional and international levels. Recalling the ASEAN Declaration of Principle to Combat the Abuse of Narcotic Drugs adopted in Manila on 26 June 1976, which provided for cooperation in preventive measures amongst the ASEAN countries, the Foreign Ministers reiterated their firm conviction that abuse and illicit trafficking of drugs debilitate the social and economic fabric of all societies, seriously endanger the development of nations and undermine the security and well-being of all mankind. Thus the Foreign Ministers called upon all nations to summon the utmost political will to mount both individual and cooperative efforts to urgently combat the threats posed by dug abuse and trafficking.
- The Foreign Ministers also took the opportunity to commend the efforts of individuals, governments, regional groupings and international organisations in raising the consciousness of people and nations to the serious dimensions of the drug problem. In this context they referred to the Quito Declaration Against Traffic in Narcotic Drugs of 11 August 1984, the New York Declaration Against Drug Trafficking and the illicit Use of Drugs of 1 October 1984, the First Ladies Conference held in Washington in April 1985, the initiative on drugs which emerged from the Born Summit in May 1985, and the continuing efforts undertaken by the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Social Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, the International Narcotic Control Board, the Division of Narcotic Drugs of the United Nations Secretariat and the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control. The Foreign Ministers warmly supported the United Nations Secretary-General’s recent call for the convening of an International Conference on Narcotic Drugs at Ministerial level as a timely effort to provide an international forum and focus for the discussions of all aspects of the dug problem. In recognition of the seriousness of the problem, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers issued a Joint Statement on the International Problem of Drug Abuse and Trafficking on 9 July 1985.
International Economic Issues
- In reviewing the intonations economic situation the Foreign Ministers noted that the economic upturn in certain major developed countries as highly differentiated from country to country and that the momentum had begun to slowdown. Developing countries continued to face adverse circumstances and uncertainties such as growing protectionism, low and unstable prices for primary commodities, unresolved foreign debts and volatile exchange rates.
- The Foreign Ministers stressed the need for closer and more productive cooperation between the developed and developing countries in order to ensure a sustained and broad-based global economic growth. In this connection,, they expressed the readiness of ASEAN to extend its fullest cooperation to all the parties concerned for the early launching of Global Negotiations to correct existing structural imbalances in the world economy in an integrated and comprehensive manner.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their serious concern over the continued trend towards protectionist measures in developed countries which seriously affect the exports of developing countries, including the ASEAN countries. They also expressed the conviction that an open international trading system was fundamental for the continued economic progress of all countries.
- The Foreign Ministers stated that ASEAN welcomed the launching of the New Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. Towards this end, they stressed the need to initiate preparations expeditiously. They reiterated the need to fulfill the past commitments of the Tokyo Round, the relevant elements of the 1982 GATT Work Programme and to take into account the interests of ASEAN and other developing countries.
- In view of the serious adverse effects of falling commodity prices on the export earnings of developing countries, including the ASEAN countries, the Foreign Ministers stressed the need for constructive dialogue and close cooperation between producers and consumers to find joint solutions to overcome commodity problems. In regard, they also called for the early implementation of the main elements of the Integrated Programme for Commodities including the Common Fund Agreement and STABEX on a global basis. On the International Commodity Agreements, they urged the close collaboration between producers and consumers and consultations/ negotiations on individual commodities be maintained to ensure that mutually beneficial and viable agreements be established for commodities.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed grave concern over the uncertainties prevailing in the international system, especially the continued debt problem in many developing countries, which have direct repercussions on the financial and trade situations of developing countries. They reaffirmed their call for accelerating the process of deliberations on the reform of the international monetary system which should take into consideration the difficulties faced by the developing countries.
- The Foreign Ministers recalled that following deliberations by the Seventeenth ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting held in February, 1985 in Kuala Lumpur, ASEAN conveyed its positions on major international economic issues. to the Bonn Economic Summit held in May, 1985. Generally, they felt that the concern of ASEAN and the other developing countries had not been adequately dealt with.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated ASEAN’s determination to intensify its collective efforts to alleviate the difficulties brought about by the adverse international economic conditions. They further reaffirmed their commitment to foster closer economic cooperation among developing countries so as to accelerate and strengthen cooperative efforts and solidarity among developing countries.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the phenomenal growth and dynamism in the Pacific region, the increasing interaction among the countries in the area and the, process of change through which the economies of the Pacific countries are going towards rapid industrialization. With the emergence of the Pacific as one of the major economic regions of the world and as ASEAN is part of the region, the Foreign Ministers concluded that it is important for ASEAN to keep the developments in the Pacific region under constant and more intensive review. The Foreign Ministers welcomed the opportunity for an exchange of views with the dialogue countries on developments in the region at the Post Ministerial Conferences.
- While emphasising ASEAN’s efforts to further strengthen intra-ASEAN cooperation, and reaffirming its resolve to utilise the appropriate existing mechanism and not to establish new institutions, the Foreign Ministers decided to implement the immediate programme of ASEAN – Pacific Human Resources Development.
- The Foreign Ministers viewed with deep concern the continuing escalation in the global arms race, particularly in the nuclear field. They urged the nuclear weapon states to heed the overwhelming desire of the international community to halt the competitive accumulation and modernization of nuclear armaments by engaging in serious negotiations on disarmament, taking into account not only their own security concerns but also the concerns of others, especially the developing non-nuclear weapon states.
- Taking note that the Third Review Conference of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) would be held in Geneva in August 1985, the Foreign Ministers expressed their concern over the unbalanced implementation of the essential elements of the NPT. The Foreign Ministers urged the nuclear weapon states parties to the Treaty to fulfill their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and on nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” The Foreign Ministers stressed in particular the need to ensure the fullest possible exchange of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes which is of fundamental importance to the developing countries. The Foreign Ministers further called upon the nuclear powers to proceed without further delay to undertake multilateral negotiations on a comprehensive test ban.
- The Foreign Ministers condemned the blatant act of defiance by the racist Pretoria regime which had illegally installed a so-called interim government in Namibia in complete disregard f the right to self-determination for the Namibian people and indirect contravention of United Nations Security Council Resolution 435 (1978). The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the UN efforts to bring about genuine independence to the Namibian people in a United Namibia. They called upon the international community to bring relentless pressure to bear upon South Africa and to continue to support the just struggle of the Namibian people under the leadership of the Southwest African Peoples’ Organisation (SWAPO), their sole and authentic representative.
Critical Economic Situation in Africa
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their sympathy and concern over the grave socioeconomic difficulties, in particular the famine suffered by the countries in Africa which are experiencing intense and prolonged drought and desertification in unprecedented proportions. They commended the efforts of the United Nations and non- governmental organisations as well as donor governments and individuals in providing urgent relief to the people in the affected countries. The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their support of all efforts towards providing aid and assistance to these African countries to complement the considerable efforts of the African countries themselves.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their principled stand that a just and lasting peace in West Asia could only be achieved through the restitution of the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions. They urged the convening of an International Conference on Palestine and the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Achievements of Palestinian Rights issued in Geneva in 1983. The Foreign Ministers expressed concern at the undiminished tragedy in Lebanon and urged all parties concerned to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Foreign Ministers viewed with deep concern the continuing war between Iran and Iraq, and called on both countries to end their hostilities and accept peaceful solution in the interest of regional and international peace.
- The Foreign Ministers called for the total withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and reaffirmed their stand that the inherent right of the Afghan people to freely determine their own future should be restored.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that the decisions taken at the Seventeenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting to strengthen the ASEAN Secretariat have been implemented. In this connection, the Foreign Ministers signed the Protocol to Amend the Agreement on the Establishment of the ASEAN Secretariat which would extend the term of office of the Secretary General from two to three years.
- The Foreign Ministers approved the budget of the ASEAN Secretariat for the financial year 1985/1986 and also approved the establishment of a Non-Contributory Retirement Benefits Scheme for the locally recruited staff of the ASEAN Secretariat.
- The Foreign Ministers believe that these measures would make the ASEAN Secretariat more effective in the discharge of its responsibilities.
Nineteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting
- The Nineteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting will be held in Manila in June 1986.
- The Delegations of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand expressed their sincere and deep appreciation to the Government and people of Malaysia for the warm and generous hospitality accorded them and the excellent facilities and the very efficient arrangements made for the Meeting.
- The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN friendship and solidarity.