- The Sixteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was held in Bangkok on 24-25 June 1983. The Meeting was formally opened by His Excellency General Prem Tinsulanonda, Prime Minister of Thailand.
- The Meeting was attended by 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 General Carlos P. Romulo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines; His Excellency S. 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 Chan Kai Yau, Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat was present at the meeting.
- His Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, representative of the Sultan of Brunei, attended the sessions of the Ministerial Meeting as Observer.
- His Excellency Rabbie Langanai Namaliu, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Papua New Guinea attended the sessions of the Ministerial Meeting as Observer.
- The Meeting was chaired by His Excellency Air Chief Marshal Siddhi Savetsila, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. His Excellency Prof. Dr. Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, was elected Vice-Chairman.
- In his Opening Address, the Prime Minister of Thailand, stressed the determination of ASEAN countries to work together in mutual respect and trust and to continuously review progress in ASEAN cooperation to further improve ASEAN relations. During the sixteen years of cooperation, ASEAN has grown into a dynamic grouping of developing countries with some of the highest growth rates in the world. It has gained the respect and acceptance of the entire international community which are matters of great pride to its peoples. They now feel that they can determine their own destiny free from outside interference and coercion. The achievement springs mainly from the fact that ASEAN shares the same social and cultural heritage and the relations based on give-and-take and the usual practice of resolving differences through consultations and consensus.
- In the relations with the developed, industrialised nations, ASEAN has shown that it is a region of fast economic growth and vast development potentials. At the same time, its relations with the dialogue partners are based on equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit. ASEAN has also used every opportunity available to speak out for its fellow developing countries for a more just and equitable relationship between the North and the South.
- To the developing nations, ASEAN is a successful model of Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries. Contacts between ASEAN and their regional groupings of developing counties, when lead to identification of areas of cooperation which can be turned into action-oriented programmes, could yield benefits to all concerned. Successful cooperation among developing countries is part and parcel of the New International Economic Order.
- The Prime Minister emphasized that it is in the Interest of every nation in Southeast Asia to cooperate to make peace and prosperity a reality for all the peoples. This is what ASEAN stands for. The removal of the Kampuchean problem would be conducive to the realization of ASEAN’s ultimate goal, namely to secure Southeast Asia as a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality.
- His Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, representative of the Sultan of Brunei, informed the Meeting that it is the earnest intention of the Government of His Highness the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to apply for membership of ASEAN after the resumption of its full independence and sovereignty on the 1st of January 1984. The Meeting warmly welcomed the statement.
Situation in Kampuchea
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the situation in Kampuchea and expressed their deep concern that the continued Vietnamese military occupation of Kampuchea still posed a Serious threat to the peace and stability of the Southeast Asia region as well as to international peace and security. They reiterated their call for a comprehensive political settlement in Kampuchea that would provide for a total withdrawal of all foreign forces from Kampuchea and the exercise of the right of the Kampuchea people to self-determination. They again invited Vietnam to consider the elements contained in the Declaration of the ICK.
- The Foreign Ministers recalled that the Declaration called for negotiations on,inter alia, – an agreement on cease-fire by all parties and withdrawal of all foreign forces from Kampuchea under the supervision of a UN force; appropriate arrangements to ensure that armed Kampuchean factions would not be able to prevent or disrupt the holding of free elections; appropriate measures for the maintenance of law and order in Kampuchea; the holding of free elections under UN supervision which will allow the Kampuchean people to exercise their right of self-determination in which all Kampucheans will have the right to participate. Such a comprehensive political settlement would take into account the security interests of the countries in the region. The Foreign Minister also recalled that there had been registered the need for international economic assistance programmes for Kampuchea and the other states of the region to be formulated following the peaceful resolution of the Kampuchean conflict.
- The Foreign Ministers took note of Vietnam’s recent announcement of a partial withdrawal of its troops from Kampuchea. They expressed the view that such a withdrawal should be credible and should be part and parcel of the total withdrawal.
- The Foreign Ministers fully endorsed the Thai Foreign Minister’s proposal for a withdrawal of Vietnamese troops 30 kms., from the Thai-Kampuchean border as an initial step towards total withdrawal and a political settlement, and his intention to visit Hanoi if this proposal was accepted. They expressed the hope for constructive consultation is which would prepare the ground work for an international conference to achieve a comprehensive political settlement.
- The Foreign Ministers requested the United Nations Secretary-General to continue to monitor closely the developments its on the Thai-Kampuchean border. They also called upon Vietnam to consider seriously the call of the international community for the stationing of a United Nations in, observer team on the Thai side of the border in conjunction with the establishment of safe areas under UN supervision in Western Kampuchea for the uprooted civilian Kampucheans encamped along the Thai-Kampuchean 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 Minister expressed their serious concern at the reported demographic changes being imposed by the Vietnamese occupation forces in Svay Rieng, Pey Veng, Takeo, Kompong Chan, Kandel, Kampot, Ratanakiri, and Mondolkiri provinces of Kampuchea.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the continued progress made by the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea, under the Presidency of Samdech Norodom Sihanouk, in rallying Kampuchean nationalists to their struggle for national liberation and independence. They also noted that the CGDK forces have withstood, with high morale, the recent Vietnamese military offensive. The Foreign Ministers believed that, with the increasing support of the world community, the CGDK could grow as a credible and viable political force.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated their conviction that the formation of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea constituted a significant step towards a comprehensive political settlement of the Kampuchean problem. They recalled the recent ASEAN-EC Joint Declaration which recognized the formation of CGDK as such a step. The Foreign Ministers were encouraged by the result of the discussion in Paris between President Mitterrand and Samdech Norodom Sihanouk whom the French Government recognized as the true representative of Kampuchea.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation to the Member States of the United Nations for their support and recognition of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea under the Presidency of Samdech Norodom Sihanouk.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the decision of the 7th Non-Aligned Summit to have an adhoc committee examine the question of the Kampuchean seat further and to make a recommendation to the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Non- Aligned Movement to be held in 1985. They noted that this decision had further called into question the action taken in Havana to deny Democratic Kampuchea its rightful seat. They welcomed the call made in the Political Declaration of the 7th Non-Aligned Summit for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Kampuchea, which is consistent with the relevant UN resolutions.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation of the support extended by the majority of countries for the ASEAN position and reaffirmed their intention to continue close consultations with all friendly countries on constructive approaches which would reinforce ASEAN efforts to achieve an early settlement of the Kampuchean problem.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their firm belief that a comprehensive political solution of the Kampuchean problem is essential to the establishment of a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality in Southeast Asia which would ensure the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States in the region. They reiterated their determination to continue all possible efforts towards the realisation of ZOPFAN, including studies of measures to realize this objective.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation to the President of the International Conference on Kampuchea, His Excellency Mr. Willibald Pahr, for his efforts as well as commitment and dedication toward the implementation of the objective of the Conference Declaration and Resolution. The Foreign Ministers also noted with satisfaction the continuing constructive efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee of the International Conference on Kampuchea, and expressed their appreciation to its Chairman, His Excellency Ambassador Massamba Sarre of Senegal, for his excellent guidance of the work of the Committee.
- The Foreign Ministers appreciated the continuing efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General to find a comprehensive political solution to the Kampuchean problem in accordance with the relevant United Nations General Assembly resolutions. In this regard, they also welcomed his decision to send his Special Representative on Humanitarian Affairs in Southeast Asia, His Excellency Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed, to attend the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. The Foreign Ministers reiterated their readiness to continue to give their full cooperation to the United Nations Secretary-General.
- The Foreign Ministers deplored the premeditated and indiscriminate military attacks waged by Vietnamese occupation forces during January – April this year against the encampments, schools and hospitals for Kampuchean civilians at the Thai-Kampuchean border, which had resulted in severe losses of life and property of innocent Kampuchean civilians. These attacks were systematically launched in flagrant violation of the fundamental principles of humanitarianism and of the UN Charter and had led to a massive influx of Over 40,000 Kampucheans, mostly women, children and the old, into Thailand, adding further to the already heavy burden it was shouldering in providing temporary refugees to close to 170,000 lndochinese refugees. They recalled the international condemnation of the attacks and violations of Thai territory, such as that expressed by the EC statement of 25 April 1983.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with deep concern that close to 200,000 Thai villagers along the Thai-Laos and Thai-Kampuchean borders had been seriously affected and uprooted by the heavy influx of Indochinese refugees and by shelling from the Kampuchean side of the border. They emphasized that continued external assistance must be rendered to the affected Thai villagers.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their serious concern over the sharp decline in the rates of resettlement in third countries of Indochinese refugees presently seeking temporary refuge in the ASEAN countries. They called upon both traditional and potential. resettlement countries, in the spirit of international burden-sharing, to exert their full efforts in increasing the resettlement opportunities for these unfortunate people, so that there would not be any residual problem for Thailand and for the other ASEAN countries.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with concern that the problem of Vietnamese illegal immigrants still persists with continuing fresh arrivals. The Foreign Ministers emphasized that the granting of first refuge by ASEAN countries depends on commitment for resettlement in third countries and on the avoidance of residual problem in the area. They also reiterated their conviction that the problem should be tackled at source and urged Vietnam to continue to cooperate by preventing further illegal departures. They urged Vietnam, the UNHCR and resettlement countries to exert concerted efforts to facilitate a full and effective implementation of the Orderly Departure Programme.
- The Foreign Ministers, recognizing the inalienable right of the Indochinese refugees who had sought temporary refuge in neighbouring countries to return safely to their homeland, strongly urged the UNHCR to expedite 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 refugees and displaced persons along the Thai-Kampuchean border. The Foreign Ministers recognized the continuing needs of these unfortunate People as well as the important role of the United Nations Secretary-General in this regard, and urged him to continue his humanitarian efforts on behalf of Kampuchea refugees and displaced persons. The Foreign Ministers were convinced that this problem was one of International concern and that it was the proper function of the United Nations to help alleviate this concern. In so doing, the Foreign Ministers expressed the hope that such efforts would not be regarded as being conditional or contingent upon the continuation to programme inside Kampuchea, but should deserve the full support of the United Nations on the basis of legitimate humanitarian needs.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their profound appreciation for the responses of donor governments to the humanitarian needs arising out of the refugee situation in Southeast Asia and for the commendable work of the officials of the UNBRO/WFP, of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and of other UN agencies and humanitarian organizations. The Foreign Ministers appealed to the international community to continue to extend humanitarian relief assistance to these refugees/displaced persons/illegal immigrants along the Thai-Kampuchean border, in the holding centres in Southeast Asia, and to the affected Thai villagers.
International Economic Issues
- In reviewing the world economic situation, the Foreign Ministers expressed concern at the prolonged and serious crisis afflicting the global economy. They took note of the signs of an economic upturn in certain developed countries. They believed however that for global recovery to materialize and to endure, it. is imperative that it be supplemented by determined and simultaneous effort to revitalize the development process and especially to accelerate economic growth in the developing counties. They also believed that the present difficulties once again clearly demonstrate the economic interdependence which exists among all members of the international community. They therefore reaffirmed their conviction that in such an increasingly interdependent world, a global, integrated and comprehensive approach to international economic issues was essential.
- In this connection, the Foreign Ministers expressed their disappointment with the lack of progress towards the Global Negotiations on International Economic Cooperation for Development envisaged in UNGA resolution 34/138. They reiterated their cap for the early launching of such Negotiations.
- Noting the outcome of the GATT Ministerial Meeting of November 1982, the Foreign Ministers Failed upon all Contracting Parties to adhere strictly to their commitments given at that Meeting to resist protectionist pressure and work together for the improvement of the GATT trading system, the promotion of freer trade and better market access for products from developing countries.
- The Foreign Ministers stressed the importance of UNCTAD VI as an opportunity for contributing to finding a way out of the current economic crisis, as well as for breaking the stalemate in the North-South dialogue and. improving the climate for this process in the future.
- They believed that UNCTAD VI should agree on some of the main “ground rules” for policies and actions in the 1980’s to promote sustained economic recovery and development, taking into account the reality of global interdependence. They stressed that actions taken at UNCTAD VI must go beyond an analysis of the problems that beset the world economy by devising an effective programme in the three main inter-related areas of commodities, trade and money and finance.
- In the field of commodities, they urged that those countries which have not yet signed the Common Fund Agreement should do so as soon as possible and that they, together with those that have already signed should ratify the Agreement on or before 30 September 1983, in order that the Fund can be operational on 1 January 1984. They also urged that there should be agreements: to accelerate the pace of negotiations and conclusions of International Commodity Agreements in order to achieve a number of new agreements as soon as possible; to review existing Agreements with a view to strengthening them; to urge the IF to enhance and improve its compensatory financing facility as a matter of high priority; to start preparatory work leading to negotiations on the establishment of a complementary facility for shortfalls, in commodity export earnings; and to convene a negotiating conference on general frameworks of international cooperation aimed at promoting and assuring greater participation of the developing countries in the fields of processing, marketing, transportation and distribution of commodities.
- In the field of trade, they urged that there should be agreements: to implement effectively the commitments made by developed countries to a “stand-still” on protectionist measures; that developed countries should remove and dismantle all existing protectionist measures which are against the GATT rules; that the developed countries should also improve their respective GSP schemes especially as regards their security, transparency, product coverage and process of consultations.
- In the field of money and finance, they urged that there should be agreements: to ask the IMF to give urgent and serious consideration to a special issue SDRs on a substantial scale; to advance the pace towards the implementation of targets for ODA flows; to urge the IMF to undertake a review of the present condition criteria, it employs in its lending with a view to improving them from the point of view of the needs of development and world economic recovery; to urge all donor countries to contribute towards a substantial increase in IDAVII; to extend liberal and more favourable terms and conditions of export credits extended to developing countries; and to convene an international conference on money and finance for development which will form part of the Global Negotiation when launched.
- The Foreign Ministers believed that UNCTAD VI should agree to launch a process leading to the reform and improvement of the institutional arrangements governing international economic relations in a manner which will make them more responsive to the development needs of the developing countries.
- The Foreign Ministers called upon the developed countries to display a more forthcoming attitude and to come forward with new commitment, so as to enable UNCTAD VI to achieve concrete and tangible results.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed ASEAN’s determination to cooperate fully in their joint efforts to overcome the difficulties brought about by the adverse international economic conditions. In this connection they expressed satisfaction at ASEAN close cooperation in various international fora such as the GATT Ministerial Meeting last November and UNCTAD VI now approaching its conclusion.
- In reviewing the developments in ASEAN cooperation during the past year, the Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction that ASEAN has gain increasing international recognition as a dynamic regional grouping in world affairs today. The progress in ASEAN cooperation has resulted from ASEAN collective efforts and commitments to promote the well-being of its peoples in the region based on the principles and objectives of the Bangkok Declaration and the Declaration of ASEAN Concord.
- The Foreign Ministers adopted the Annual Report of the ASEAN Standing Committee. They expressed their satisfaction that ASEAN has made good progress in the various fields of cooperation and reiterated the political will of the five governments to achieve rapid progress and greater prosperity through effective regional cooperation.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress of the ASEAN Industrial Projects (AIPs). In particular, they noted that the ASEAN urea project of Indonesia would become operational in early 1984.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the result of the Fourth Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers on Energy, held in Singapore, on 19 January 1983 especially the approval of an ASEAN Emergency Petroleum Sharing Scheme together with Supplementary Scheme. They expressed the hope that these Schemes could be formulated into an Agreement soon, hereby fulfilling ASEAN cooperation
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the decision of the Fourteenth ASEAN Economic Ministers to further raise the import ceiling for 20-25 percent across-the- board tariff cuts on items with import values of US$ 2.5 million up to US$ 10 million and to deepen the tariff cuts on non-food items already under the PTA and on future exchanges to a maximum of 50 per cent.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the signing of the ASEAN Customs Code of Conduct which covered the basic principles and standards on customs valuation, classification, technique and related maters, in Jakarta on 18 March 1983. The Ministers hoped that this would facilitate and contribute to the expansion of intra-ASEAN trade.
- In the field of food, agriculture and forestry, the Foreign Minister noted the conclusion of the ASEAN Ministerial Understanding on Plant Quarantine, and on Standardization of Import and Quarantine Regulations, on Animal and Animal Products during the Fourth Meeting of the ASEAN Minister on Agriculture and Forestry in Kuala Lumpur, on 8-9 October 1982.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the significant progress made in the field of Science and Technology particularly on the ASEAN Protein Project. The Foreign Ministers welcomed the initiative of the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST) to organize an ASEAN Science Week involving international participation.
- Noting that a substantial majority of the ASEAN population comprises young people who would product the future leaders to perpetuate ASEAN values, ideals and aspirations, and who constitute a large potential for productive and creative work, the Ministers agreed that serious and concerted attention be focused towards ASEAN cooperation in the area of youth and young people. In putting into effect the ASEAN Declaration on Principles to Strengthen ASEAN Collaboration on Youth which was signed by the Foreign Ministers, they agreed that a comprehensive ASEAN Youth Programme be adopted as the basic framework upon which ASEAN cooperation in this regard could be implemented. They also agreed to encourage national organizations of youth and young people to incorporate in their articles of association the promotion of ASEAN objectives and those of the ZOPFAN.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their serious concern with the increased incidents in drug abuses and trafficking in the ASEAN region. This trend will escalate further if concerted and immediate remedial action is not taken. They agreed to do everything possible in order to meet this serious danger to the ASEAN communities. They also felt that the Narcotic Officer of the ASEAN Secretariat should study this danger and recommend urgent measures to overcome it.
Cooperation with Third Countries
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the cooperation between ASEAN and the Third Countries and took note of the progress made. They noted that cooperation with Third Countries has received constant review or improvement and that ASEAN Dialogue partners have taken cognizance of ASEAN priority areas of cooperation namely, market access, shipping, and energy, as well as transfer of technology, commodities and international economic issues, and social and cultural matters.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed with particular satisfaction the results of the Third ASEAN – EC Joint Cooperation Committee in Pattaya, Thailand on 2 – 3 November 1982 and the Fourth ASEAN – EC Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok on 24 – 25 March 1983. The Meeting, demonstrated the willingness of both sides to work together for their mutual benefit, thereby contributing to international peace and stability.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the result of the First Meeting of the ASEAN-Canada Joint Cooperation Committee in Ottawa, on 26-27 April 1983 which was held following the visit of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau at the begining of this year to the ASEAN counties.
- The Foreign Ministers felt that the recent visit of Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone to ASEAN countries, had set a clear direction to ASEAN-Japan Cooperation. They expressed the hope that this would provide further impetus for the ASEAN-Japan Forum.
Private Sector and Non-Governmental Organizations
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated their belief that the ASEAN private sector has an important role to play in economic development in the ASEAN Member Countries. They noted with satisfaction that the private sector through the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASEAN-CCI), was participating in and making valuable contributions to various ASEAN economic meetings.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the affiliation of more – Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to ASEAN. They noted that the activities of these NGOs would further enhance ASEAN cooperation.
ASEAN Task Force
- Pursuant to the decision of the Fifteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, the ASEAN Task Force undertook a Comprehensive Review and Appraisal of ASEAN Cooperation and presented its Report to the Foreign Ministers.
- The Foreign Ministers commended the fifteen members of the Task Force for their Report. They expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the Task, Force in the allotted time. The Foreign Ministers agreed to refer the Report and recommendations to respective, ASEAN Governments for urgent consideration.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that professional economic officers are now included in the staff of the ASEAN Secretariat. This would enable, the Secretariat to provide greater service, assistance as well as coordination the economic cooperation of ASEAN.
Seventeenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting
- The Seventeenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting will be held in Indonesia in July 1984.
- The Delegations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Thailand for the warm and generous hospitality accorded them and the excellent facilities provided and the efficient arrangements for the Meeting.
- The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN friendship and solidarity.