- The Seventeenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was held. a the ASEAN Secretariat building in Jakarta from 9 – 10 July 1984. The Meeting was formally opened by His Excellency President Soeharto of the Republic of Indonesia.
- The Meeting was attended by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed 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 Tan Sri Haji Muhammad Ghazali Shafie, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, His Excellency Arturo Tolentino, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, His Excellency Suppiah Dhanabalan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, His Excellency Air Chief Marshal Siddhi Savetsila, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and their respective delegations. His Excellency Vicente Valdepenas, Minister of Economic Planning of the Philippines, His Excellency Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and His Excellency Chirayu Israngkul Na Ayuthaya, Deputy Minister of Industry of Thailand also attended the Meeting.
- His Excellency Chan Kai Yau, Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat and His Excellency Phan Wannamethee, the ASEAN Secretary General – designate were present at the Meeting.
- His Excellency Rabbie L. Namaliu, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Papua New Guinea, attended the open sessions of the Ministerial Meeting as Observer.
- The Meeting was chaired by His Excellency Prof. Dr. Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. His Excellency. Tan Sri Haji the Muhamad Ghazali Shafie, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia was elected Vice-Chairman.
- In his Opening Address, H.E. President Soeharto viewed the Ministerial Meeting would have further significance for the future of ASEAN as it would identify further steps towards the promotion of ZOPFAN, as well as the enhancement of cooperation among ASEAN members. The Meeting between ASEAN and the Dialogue Countries would further contribute also to promoting cooperation consistent with the aim to build a better world .
- On the world economic situation, the President stated that there is no indication of improvement which could benefit the developing countries. Therefore, it would be to ASEAN’s mutual interest to find ways and means of overcoming the effects of the global economic recession and to establish a New International Economic Order which will ensure progress, justice and security of all countries.
- The President added, nevertheless, the cooperation among the ASEAN member countries has made encouraging progress as reflected in the signing of several agreements in areas of Preferential Trading Arrangement and industrial projects and joint ventures. He also noted that the cooperation among ASEAN member states goes beyond governmental level and transcends into private sectors, and reflects the deepening ASEAN spirit.
- ASEAN has gown stronger seventeen years after the signing of the Bangkok Declaration. The President further stressed ASEAN has also shown an impressive record as a forum of regional cooperation. ASEAN must further consolidate and reinforce the cohesion and solidarity among its member states.
- ASEAN is determined to establish the Zone of Peace. Freedom and Neutrality in Southeast Asia. ASEAN cannot therefore be indifferent towards a situation which can disrupt peace and stability in this region. In this context he said that ASEAN viewed the situation in Kampuchea as deeply disturbing as it hinders the attainment of peace, stability and harmonious cooperation in Southeast Asia.
- The President further stressed that ASEAN has been actively pursuing ways to resolve the problem through a comprehensive political solution. ASEAN maintains that the withdrawal of Vietnamese forces from Kampuchea is an important step towards the restoration of Kampuchea’s independence and sovereignty and its neutral and non- aligned status that will further consolidate peace in this region.
- The President also stressed that ASEAN has no intention of interfering in the domestic affairs of the Kampuchean people and of being directly involved in the conflict, as otherwise ASEAN would be going against its own fundamental principles.
- Touching on the need for ASEAN to cooperate with the countries in the Pacific region, the President hoped that through consultation with those countries the present trends would lead to cooperation among the Pacific countries.
- Judging from the progress achieved by ASEAN, the President considered it appropriate if this Meeting could review and seek more effective measures in dealing with the greater tasks of ASEAN in the years to come.
Review of ASEAN
- In reviewing the progress of ASEAN in the past year the Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the significant progress made by ASEAN in the various fields of ASEAN cooperation.
- The Foreign Ministers also noted that ASEAN has gained wide international recognition and in this respect they welcomed the growing interest in ASEAN by the regional and international community and the desire by a number of countries to cooperate actively with ASEAN. Further underlining the importance of such wider cooperation, ASEAN’s efforts should continue to be focused towards consolidation of its organization and towards the speedier implementation of existing and new projects of cooperation in ASEAN to enable it to play a more active role.
- The Foreign Ministers were heartened with the increased collective strength of ASEAN following the entry of Brunei Darussalam last January 1984 into the Association. The entry of Brunei strengthened ASEAN’s cooperative endeavours which would be mutually beneficial to the member countries and promote regional peace and stability in accordance with the Bangkok Declaration thereby, contributing to world peace and stability.
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 reiterated their call for a comprehensive political settlement in Kampuchea which would have as its primary objective the restoration of the independence and sovereignty of Kampuchea. In this regard, they affirmed the validity of the Appeal for Kampuchean Independence of 21 September 1983 which offered a reasonable basis for a comprehensive political settlement in Kampuchea. The essential elements for such a political settlement are the total withdrawal of foreign forces, the exercise of self-determination and national reconciliation in Kampuchea.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their serious concern over the recurrent acts of Vietnamese aggression along the Thai-Kampuchean border and the intrusions of Vietnamese troops as well as frequent artillery bombardments of Thai territory. They noted the various incidents earlier. this year in which the Vietnamese intentionally made incursions into Thai territory resulting in casualties and deaths of innocent Thai citizens living along the border. They condemned these attacks which took place immediately after the Vietnamese Foreign Minister’s visits to Jakarta and Canberra. They urged Vietnam to cease such acts of provocation which increased tension along the border and affected the security of the whole region. They expressed their deep disappointment that Vietnam still shows no intention to seek a peaceful settlement of the Kampuchean problem.
- The Foreign Ministers fully endorsed Thailand’ actions in the exercise of her legitimate right to self defence. They reiterated ASEAN’s firm support and solidarity with the government and people of Thailand in the preservation of Thai independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- The Foreign Ministers requested the United Nations Secretary General to continue to monitor closely the developments on the Thai-Kampuchean border. They once again called upon Vietnam to consider seriously the call of the international community for the stationing of a United Nations observer team on the Thai side of the border in conjunction with the establishment of safe areas under United Nations supervision in western Kampuchea for the displaced civilian Kampucheans encamped along the Thai- Kampuchea border and for those in Thailand who wished to return to their homeland as contained in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 35/6.
- The Foreign Ministers noted Vietnam’s latest so- called annual partial withdrawal of its troops from Kampuchea and that such withdrawals had been annual troop rotations which were meant to deceive the international community, the Kampuchean people and Vietnam’s own citizens.
- The Foreign Ministers shared the serious apprehension of the Kampuchean people that there are now at least half a million Vietnamese settlers in Kampuchea. They noted that the continuos demographic change resulting from Vietnamese settlements, particularly in the fertile areas, is displacing Kampuchean people from their homeland. The increased dissatisfaction with this Vietnamese colonization has driven masses of Kampuchean people to the Thai-Kampuchean border.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their support for the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea under the Presidency of Samdech Norodom Sihanouk in its just struggle to restore full independence, and sovereignty, as well as a neutral and nongned status to Kampuchea. They noted the increasing unity of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea and its determination to struggle for the freedom of the Kampuchean people.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that the Kampuchean people are increasingly rallying to the patriotic resistance forces of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea in order to join the struggle against the Vietnamese forces occupying their country. They noted further that the failure of the latest Vietnamese dry-season offensive had enhanced the morale of the Kampuchean patriotic resistance forces which had emerged stronger than before.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their full support for President Samdech Norodom Sihanouk’s call for a nation reconciliation among all Kampuchean factions, as a positive approach towards realising the objectives of self-determination independence, sovereignty and unity of the Kampuchean people.
- The Foreign Ministers considered the latest Vietnamese proposal and concluded that if offered nothing positive towards the comprehensive political settlement of the Kampuchean problem. They felt that it was merely a propaganda ploy to divert the international community from the issue of Vietnam’s military occupation of Kampuchea, which is the root cause of the Kampuchean problem.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their gratification to Member States of the United Nations for their continue support of the Coalition Government of democratic Kampuchea under the Presidency of Samdech Norodom Sihanouk. They also noted that in 1983 the Kampuchean Credentials were not challenged in the United Nations General Assembly. They 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 Mr. Willbald 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 appreciation of the continuing efforts of the United Nations Secretary General to find a comprehensive political solution to the Karnpuchean problem in accordance with the relevant United Nations General Assembly resolutions. They welcomed the presence of his Special Representative on Humanitarian Affairs in Southeast Asia, His Excellency Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed, at the Seventeenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.
- The Foreign Ministers were determined to continue the latest efforts in the search for a comprehensive political solution to the Kampuchean problem undertaken by the Foreign Minister of Indonesia during his Chairmanship of the ASEAN Standing Committee. They strongly felt that it should now be clear to all that the onus rests with Vietnam to respond in good faith to the on-going international efforts to find a comprehensive political solution to the Kampuchean problem.
- With regard to the recent Thai-Laos border incident the Foreign Ministers recognized that Thailand has been maintaining the policy of seeking, through a process of confidence-building measures, to establish an atmosphere of goodwill and understanding in order to lessen the disruptive impact of any problem which might have arisen as a result of the close geographical proximity of the two nations. They welcomed Thailand’s policy of resolving differences with Laos amicably in the spirit of good neighbourliness. They called upon Vietnam to desist from interfering in the relations between Thailand and Los which are based on reciprocity and recognized international principles.
- The Foreign Ministers once again deplored the premeditated and indiscriminate attacks launched by the Vietnamese occupation forces this year against the Kampuchean civilian encampments along the Thai- Kampuchean border, notably during March and April. These encampments, under the supervision of UNBRO contained only Kampuchean civilians as had been publicly declared by the Communiqué of January 24, 1984 of the Council of Ministers of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea. These attacks caused an influx of some 80,000 Kampuchean civilians into Thai territory and compounded the already heavy burden carried by Thailand and the international community in providing temporary refuge to some I 50,000 Indochinese refugees who have fled, the conflict in Kampuchea into Thailand since 1978.
- The Foreign Ministers also noted with deep concern that, in addition to some 200,000 Thai villagers along the Thai-Kampuchean border who had already been affected and had had to be relocated as a result of the conflict in Kampuchea, several thousand more Thai villagers suffered from the intrusions of Vietnamese forces into Thai territory and from the numerous over-the-border shelling incidents.
- The Foreign Ministers called on the international community to prevail on Vietnam to cease and desist from conducting further military operations against innocent Kampuchean civilians.
- The foreign Ministers noted that since 1978 there remain hundreds of thousands of Indochinese refugees and displaced persons in the ASEAN countries. They considered that the most viable solution to the Indochinese and displaced persons continue to be their voluntary repatriation and resettlement in third countries. They once again, called on the traditional and potential resettlement countries to exert and to intensify their efforts to provide resettlement opportunities for these unfortunate people in the spirit of international burden-sharing and humanitarianism.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed that the granting of first refuge by ASEAN countries to Vietnamese illegal immigrants continues to be based on the understanding that resettlement in third countries is assured so that there would not be any residual problem in the ASEAN countries. They reaffirmed their conviction that the problem of these illegal departures especially by sea, must be resolved at the point of origin, through a fully effective Orderly Departure Programme. They strongly urged Vietnam, the UNHCR and resettlement countries to intensify their efforts to make the existing Orderly Departure Programme for Vietnamese fully effective.
- The Foreign Ministers, reiterating their conviction that it is an enable right other Indochinese refugees, now in temporary refuge in neighbouring countries, to return safely to their homeland, once again strongly urged the UNHCR to intensify its efforts and 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 Ms valuable humanitarian role on behalf of the Kampuchean refugees and displaced persons along the Thai-Kampuchean border. In this connection, they also noted with appreciation the appointment in January 1984 of Mr. Tatsuro Kunugi as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Co-ordination of Kampuchean Assistance Programmes. They also expressed their sincere appreciation to Sir Robert Jackson for having served with dedication and distinction as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Co-ordination of United Nations Humanitarian Programmes as a result of developments in Kampuchea since 1979.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated their conviction that the plight of the Kampuchean refugees and displaced persons remain a major humanitarian problem for the international community, for which the United Nations Secretary General continues to has a valuable role. They expressed the hope that the efforts of the United Nations, the United Nations Secretary General and His Special Representative would also continue and would be directed towards relieving the plight especially of those uprooted Kampucheans who have the greatest need for humanitarian assistance while the conflict in Kampuchea remained unresolved.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their profound appreciation for the continuing responses of governments to render assistance for the humanitarian needs arising from the refugee situation in Southeast Asia and for the commendable work of the dedicated officials of UNBRO/ WFP, of the International Committee of the Red Cross, of other United Nations agencies and of the humanitarian organizations. They considered the humanitarian efforts of those UN and international organizations as highly valuable and necessary and, therefore, appealed to the international community to continue to extend and intensify its support to them and to the humanitarian assistance to refugees/displaced persons/ illegal immigrants along the Thai-Kampuchean border, in the holding centres in Southeast Asia and to the affected Thai villagers.
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the development in intra-ASEAN cooperation-and noted with satisfaction that concrete progress was made in the past year as a result of ASEAN’s collective efforts and determination to promote the well-being of its people in accordance with the objectives of the Bangkok Declaration and the Declaration of ASEAN Concord.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the inauguration of the first ASEAN Industrial Project, the ASEAN Aceh Fertilizer Project in January 1984. They also welcomed the ASEAN Economic Minister’s approval of Singapore Is Hepatitis B Vaccine Project as the fifth ASEAN Industrial Project, which would complete the first set of AlPs.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction that following the signing of the Basic Agreement on the ASEAN Industrial Joint Ventures (BAIJV), four AIJV project proposals had been approved by the ASEAN Economic Ministers. In this connection, the Foreign Ministers invited the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry to take full advantage of the Basic Agreement by identifying more project proposal.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that the Sixteenth Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers had adopted the application of 20-25% across-the-board tariff cut to all products which are not included in the exclusion lists.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the fact that the third sector of ASEAN Submarine Cable project linking Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand was completed in September 1983, and noted that with this link all member countries are linked by submarine cable.
- The Foreign Ministers fully supported the Guidelines for ASEAN Cooperation in Science and Technology as adopted by the ASEAN Ministers of Science and Technology at their. Second Meeting in Jakarta last November. They expressed satisfaction that the relevant ASEAN Technical Committee had been instructed to cooperate closely with the private sector in order that the results of research and development would be put to practical use.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the view of the ASEAN Health Ministers at their Third Meeting at Pattaya last March that the existing ASEAN mechanism for collaboration in health and nutrition should be studied and further strengthened.
- The Foreign Ministers recalled their Joint Communiqué issued at the 16th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in which they expressed serious concern with the increased incidents in drug abuse and trafficking in the ASEAN region. In this regard, the Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction that concerted efforts had been taken to combat drug abuse and that the policies and strategies adopted at the 8th Meeting of the ASEAN Drug Experts would serve as the basis to intensify ASEAN cooperation in solving drug problems.
- The Foreign Ministers took note of the progress achieved since the signing of the Declaration of Principles to Strengthening ASEAN Collaboration on Youth with the implementation of programme areas for ASEAN Youth Collaboration, under the coordination of the respective national implementing agencies of the ASEAN countries.
Cooperation with Third Countries
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the progress made in the dialogues with Australia, Canada, the EC, Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America and UNDP/ESCAP and expressed the need to evolve a more productive and intensified relationship between ASEAN and its dialogue partners.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their view that ASEAN should focus on the important objectives of securing improved market access and better terms of trade, investment and transfer of technology.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the steady progress in ASEAN-Australia Cooperation. They welcomed Australia’s substantial commitment for funding on-going projects and new initiatives under the ASEAN- Australia Economic Cooperation Programme.
- While expressing satisfaction at the level of development assistance Canada had extended to ASEAN projects, the Foreign Minister, looked forward to more Canadian assistance in commercial cooperation.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their view that at the forthcoming ASEAN-EC Ministerial Meeting in Dublin from 15 -16 November 1984, economic cooperation should be given priority.
- The Foreign Ministers fully supported the view of the ASEAN Economic Ministers that the proposed ASEAN- Japan Economic Ministerial Meeting should concentrate on economic relations between ASEAN and Japan with, a view to resolving the existing economic problems and further enhancing the close- cooperation.
- On ASEAN-New Zealand relations, the Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction with the results of the Six Dialogue Meeting in Wellington and looked forward increased cooperation in all fields in the future.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the signing of the ASEAN-US Memorandum of Understanding on Tin which provided an element of predictability in the disposal of surplus tin from the US General Service Administration’s strategic stockpile. They expressed the hope that similar constructive efforts on the part of the US Administration will be forthcoming with regard to other commodities of vital interest to ASEAN.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the fact that ASEAN and UNDP agreed that more funds should be allocated to ASEAN projects under the next cycle of 1986-1990.
International Economic Issues
- In reviewing the international economic situation, the Foreign Ministers noted that there were some signs of economic recovery in the developed countries. They however expressed concern that the recovery was still very fragile and not sufficiently broad-based. They urged that urgent steps be taken to sustain the recovery, which would ensure mutual benefits to both developed and developing countries.
- The Foreign Minister stressed the high value of an open international trading system which is essential to the international economy, as well as the economies of ASEAN countries. They agreed that ASEAN should intensify its collective economic diplomacy to counter protectionist trends which are harmful to an open international economy.
- The Foreign Ministers stressed the need to revive the political will to realize the objectives of the Integrated Progamme for Commodities, including the conclusion and renegotiation of international commodity agreements of particular interest to ASEAN such as on rubber and sugar and the bringing into operation the Common Fund as early as possible.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their serious concern over the severe debt problem experienced by many developing countries, and the high and rising interest rates which exacerbated this problem. They called upon the international community to adopt immediate effective measures to alleviate this worsening problem. They also felt that it was time to accelerate the process of deliberations on the reform of the international monetary system.
- The Foreign Ministers recalled that following deliberations at the 16th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting held in May, 1984 in Jakarta, ASEAN conveyed its positions on major international economic issues to the London Summit in June 1984. They were informed of the results of the Summit as conveyed to the Chairman of the ASEAN Standing Committee, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, by the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the host country of the Summit. They were also informed that ASEAN’s positions had been noted and taken into account.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that the Summit had prescribed certain measures towards dealing with some current international economic problems. However, they felt that these were only short-term ad-hoc measures and that ASEAN’s concern had not been adequately dealt with, especially on issues related to trade – liberalization, commodities, financial flows and the debt problem.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated ASEAN’s readiness to cooperate with all concerned to remove existing impediments to the early launching of Global Negotiations.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed ASEAN’s determination to strengthen their collective efforts to overcome the adverse effects of international economic conditions. In this regard, they agreed on the desirability of ASEAN establishing an in -house “early-warning system” to monitor and consult together on these matters.
ASEAN Task Force
- With regard to ASEAN Task Force’s recommendations, the Foreign Ministers noted that ASEAN had undertaken a series of meetings to consider the Report of the Task Force.
- The Foreign Ministers formally adopted the ASEAN Task Force recommendations which have been accepted and instructed the Secretary-General, in consultations with the Standing Committee and other relevant ASEAN bodies, to take the necessary steps on the implementation of these recommendations which may now be made public. They further agreed that the remaining recommendations should be given further consideration by the appropriate senior officials.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated their determination to continue all possible efforts towards the realization of Southeast Asia as a Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) and in this respect welcomed the revival of the Working Group on ZOPFAN and endorsed its various recommendations including studies on various aspects and elements of ZOPFAN such as Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.; They agreed to implement the recommendations of the ASEAN Task Force on ZOPFAN.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their deep concern with the continuing denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. They urged that these rights be speedily restored in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions. They were also deeply concerned with the Iran-Iraq war and expressed the hope that it would end as soon as possible in order to promote peace and stability in that region.
Private Sector and Non-Governmental Organizations
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the growing activities of the ASEAN private sector, led by the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry, in ASEAN economic cooperation. They noted with satisfaction in particular the growing contacts between the ASEAN private sector and those of the dialogue partners which contributed to the expansion of the dialogues.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated their conviction that only with full cooperation and participation of the ASEAN private sector, the attainment of the objectives of ASEAN economic cooperation can be assured.
- The Foreign Ministers called for similar contacts in other sectors with a view to identifying areas of cooperation of mutual interest.
- The Foreign Ministers announced the appointment of H.E. Phan Wanannamethe of the Kingdom of Thailand as the next Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat, His term of office will commence on 16 July 1984 for a period of two years.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their great appreciation to the outgoing Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat. H.E. Chan Kai Yau of the Republic of Singapore for his service and assistance to ASEAN and his contribution to the strengthening of the ASEAN Secretariat during his term of office.
Eighteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting
- The Eighteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting will be held in Malaysia from 8-9 July 1985.
- The Delegations of Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand expressed their sincere and deep appreciation to the Government and people Indonesia for the warm and generous hospitality accorded them and the excellent facilities and the very efficient arrangement made for the Meeting.
- The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit ASEAN friendship and solidarity.