- The Twelfth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was held in Bali, Indonesia on 28-30 June 1979. The Meeting was formally opened by the President of the Republic of Indonesia H.E. General Soeharto. The Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Mr. Adam Malik, was also present at the opening ceremony.
- The Meeting was attended by H.E. Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia; H.E. General Carlos P. Romulo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines and H.E. Manuel Collantes, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affair, of the Philippines; H.E. Mr. S. Rajaratnam, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore; H.E. Mr. Ong Teng Cheong, Minister for Communications of Singapore and H.E. Mr. S. Dhanabalan, Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Singapore; H.E. Upadit Pachariyangkun, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, H.E. Prof. Dr. Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, and their respective delegations.
- H.E. Datuk Ali bin Abdullaah, Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat, as also in attendance.
- H.E.N.E. Olewale, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Papua New Guinea, and his delegation were also present at the open sessions as observers to the Twelfth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. H.E. Mr. Olewale and his delegation were guests of the Indonesian Government.
- H.E. Mr. Turkmen, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General, was also present at the open sessions as an observer.
- The President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. General Soeharto, in his opening address pointed out that the present Meting is significant as the world situation demands that appropriate measures be, taken for the survival and the prosperity of mankind. The President referred to the various international conferences that have been held recently, such as the Fifth UNCTAD Conference in Manila, the Summit Meeting of Industrialized Countries in Tokyo, the Coordinating Bureau Meeting of the Non-Aligned Countries in Colombo and the signing of the SALT Treaty by the United States of America and the Soviet Union. He hoped that the results of these meetings would lead to improvement of the world’s economy, stability and security.
- While referring to the serious situation in South East Asia which resulted from armed conflicts in Indochina and the influx of refugees into its neighbouring countries, the President said that ASEAN countries had offered its good offices in order to find a peaceful solution to the problem and had made an appeal as was clearly expressed in the Jakarta Statement of 9 January 1979 and the Bangkok Statements of 12 January and 21 February 1979, which constituted the bases for the UN Security Council’s draft resolutions which were unfortunately vetoed.
- With regard to the refugees, the President said that ASEAN had exerted great efforts in tackling the problems in providing temporary accommodation, and had arranged processing centres for the refugees, based on humanitarian considerations in cooperation with UNHCR. He regretted that the influx of refugees had increased in immense pro- portions lately, which had forced ASEAN countries to reconsider further assistance. This was done for the sake of preserving peace and stability of the region, necessitated by the need to expedite the implementation of development.
- The President hoped that Vietnam would take positive measures to comply with its statements made at the International Meeting on Refugees held in Jakarta recently. This was necessary in order to maintain harmonious relations between ASEAN member states and Vietnam.
- Turning to development in ASEAN, the President noted that ASEAN as an organization had shown to the world its solidarity in facing the turbulent situation. This was a step forward in its efforts to consolidate its strong desire to provide substance to regional cooperation. Further more ASEAN has grown mature as evidenced by the growing number of countries or groups of countries seeking dialogue with the Association. This should serve as an impetus for constant introspection while seeking improvement. The President believed that such a growth acted as a potential socio-economic strength in this region. In this way ASEAN could hope to become a regional centre of activities for economic advancement in the framework of the New International Economic Order being pursued through the North-South Dialogue.
- He stressed that the role of ASEAN’s contributing to solving international problems, specially those affecting South East Asia and the Asia Pacific region, has been recognized by the international community. The ASEAN Declaration to establish the South East Asian region as a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality had gained favourable response from many countries.
- The President hoped that the Meeting would review ASEAN’s progress and seek more effective measures in view of the bigger tasks awaiting ASEAN. He expressed his confidence that the result of the Meeting would benefit the peoples of ASEAN as well as the world at large.
Situation in Indochina.
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed recent developments in the region. They expressed grave concern that the situation in Indochina has become more serious involving countries outside the region. They noted that since their last meeting in Bangkok on 12-13 January 1979 the situation had worsened. In view of the presence of Vietnamese forces along the Thai-Kampuchea border, there is now a greater threat of the conflict escalating over a wider area. The unrestricted flow of Indochinese displaced persons/illegal immigrants (refugees) has further exacerbated the situation in the region.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the Joint Statement of the Special Meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers on the Current Political Development in the South East Asian Region Bangkok, 12 January 1979, which had strongly deplored the armed intervention against the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kampuchea. The Foreign Ministers reiterated their support for the right of the Kampuchean people to determine their future by themselves, free from interference or influence from outside powers in the exercise of their right of self-determination and called for the immediate and total withdrawal of the foreign forces from Kampuchean territory. They noted that ASEAN’s constructive effort to restore peace and stability in the area have received the overwhelming support of the international community, particularly the support of a large majority of the UN Security Council members.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed support for the right of the people of Kampuchea to lead their national existence free from interference by Vietnam and other foreign forces in their internal affairs. They lead upon the international community to support Kampuchea’s right of self-determination and continued existence free from interference, subversion or coercion.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the explosive situation on The Thai-Kampuchean border. They agreed that any further escalation of the fighting in Kampuchea or any incursion of any foreign forces into Thailand would directly affect the security of the ASEAN member states, and would endanger peace and security of the whole region. In this regard the ASEAN countries reiterated their firm support and solidarity with the government and people of Thailand, or any other ASEAN country in the preservation of its independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- The Foreign Ministers called on Vietnam to demonstrate its positive attitude towards Thailand and the other ASEAN member states by withdrawing its forces from the Thai-Kampuchean border.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their belief that the stability of each member state and of the ASEAN region is an essential contribution to international peace and security. Accordingly they agreed that ASEAN member countries would continue to strengthen their cooperation with each other in all fields, thereby enhancing their respective national resilience as well as ASEAN resilience. They also agreed to continue to cooperate in international fora and to utilize all possible means to present their common stand on matters relating to the situation in the region.
Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the determination of ASEAN member countries to continue to work for the realization of the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) in South East Asia. In view of the armed conflicts and hostilities in Indochina which constitute a destablising factor in the region, they agreed that the developments serve to emphasize more strongly the relevance of and the need for ASEAN to pursue with greater vigour the objective, of ZOPFAN.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction that the Ministerial meeting of the Co-ordinating Bureau of Non-Aligned Nations in Colombo in June 1979 discussed the proposal for ZOPFAN and expressed the hope that countries in South East Asia would continue the consultations on ZOPFAN.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated their conviction that only on the basis of respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states and of non-interference in their internal affairs, will there be durable peace ,and stability in the region. They accordingly agreed that ASEAN member should continue their efforts towards gaining recognition of and respect for ZOPFAN, and to impress, upon all including the countries of Indochina, the advantages and relevance of ZOPFAN.
The Refugee Problem
- The Foreign Ministers expressed grave concern over the deluge of illegal immigrants/displaced persons (refugees) from Indochina which has reached crisis proportions and has caused severe political, socioeconomic and security problems in ASEAN countries and will have a destabilising effect on the region.
- The Foreign Ministers agreed that Vietnam is responsible for the unending exodus of illegal immigrants and has a decisive role to play in resolving the problem at source. They strongly deplored the fact that Vietnam had not taken any effective measures to stop the exodus. The Foreign Ministers further expressed serious concern over the incessant influx of Kampuchean illegal immigrants into Thailand arising out of the armed intervention and military operations in Kampuchea.
- The Foreign Ministers stressed that ASEAN countries which had become a heavy burden of providing temporary shelter to the illegal immigrants/displaced persons (refugees) have reached the limit of their endurance and have decided they would not accept any new arrivals. They reiterated the decision of ASEAN countries to take firm and effective measures to prevent further inflow of illegal immigrants/displaced persons (refugees). The Foreign Ministers gave notice that the ASEAN countries would send out the illegal immigrants/displaced persons (refugees) in their existing camps should they not be accepted by resettlement countries, or by the respective Indochinese countries within a reasonable time-frame, and in the absence of any arrangements to the contrary. To ensure the effectiveness of these measures, the Foreign Ministers agreed to coordinate the effort, of their respective governments.
- The Foreign Minister agreed that in the efforts at the international level to find a solution, emphasis should be given to solving the problem at source. They further agreed that as the country responsible for the exodus, Vietnam has a decisive role to play in the resolution of the problem. The Foreign Ministers appealed to the international community to prevail upon Vietnam to stop the exodus. Any illegal immigrants/displaced persons (refugees) leaving Vietnam or the other Indochinese states continue to be the responsibility of their respective countries of origin which must accept them back under existing international law and practice. This responsibility also applies to those who are now in camps in ASEAN countries. The Ministers emphasized the right of ASEAN countries to return such persons to Vietnam and to their respective countries of origin. These should set aside for administration by UNHCR suitable transit centres to house people. The Foreign Ministers stressed that the implementation of any arrangement for the orderly departure of illegal immigrants/displaced persons (refugees) should in no any affect the existing resettlement programmes and commitments for illegal immigrants/displaced persons (refugees) already in ASEAN countries.
- In regard to the resettlement programme, while appreciating the efforts of the resettlement countries and the UNHCR in providing permanent settlement, the Foreign Ministers expressed disappointment at the inadequacy of their efforts in relation to growing magnitude of the problem. They urged that definite commitments be given to ensure that efforts be made by resettlement countries to increase their intake of Indochinese displaced persons/illegal immigrants (refugees) already in transit countries, as well as to hasten their resettlement programme.. The Foreign Ministers appealed to other countries to participate in the resettlement programmes. They strongly felt that in the implementation of these programmes, priority should be given to those in camps in ASEAN countries.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the Special Statement on Indochina refugees by the Summit of Industrialized Countries, 28 June 1978, Tokyo, which recognized that the Indochina refugee problem constituted a threat to peace and stability of South East Asia and which called on Vietnam and other countries of Indo-China to take urgent and effective measures to eliminate the problem. The Foreign Ministers also welcomed the decisions of the these industrialized countries to significantly increase their intake of Indo-China refugees and their financial contributions. The Foreign Ministers urged that the resettlement countries give definite commitments to accept those Indochinese illegal immigrants/ displaced persons (refugees) already in countries of first transit.
- The Foreign Ministers stressed the important role of processing centres step in the implementation of the resettlement programmes. In this regard they welcomed the offer of Galang Island by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and of Tara Island by the Government of the Republic of Philippines as processing centres based on the principles and conditions contained in the statement of the Foreign Ministers issued in Bangkok on 21 February 1979. The Foreign Ministers noted with appreciation the convening in Jakarta of the Meeting on the Establishment of a Processing Center for Indochina Refugees on 15-16 May 1979 which was attended by ASEAN, donor countries and the UNHCR. They welcomed the decision of the Meeting to accept both offers and to proceed without delay with establishment of processing centres on those island in close cooperation with the UNHCR and interested parties. The Foreign Ministers expressed the hope that processing centres could also be established outside the ASEAN countries.
- The Foreign Ministers supported the proposal for the convening of an international conference on Indochina refugees under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General. They believe that the Conference by addressing itself to all aspects of the problem, including solution at source and a more responsive settlement programme that would. expedite resettlement and avoid residues, would contribute to the solution of the problem.
- The Foreign Ministers agreed that ASEAN countries urgently undertake joint and coordinated policies and measures to achieve the objectives set out in this communiqué for the solution of the question of illegal immigrants/ displaced persons (refugees) from Indochina.
Annual Report Of The Standing Committee
- The Meeting considered and approved the Annual Report of the ASEAN standing Committee and noted with satisfaction that significant progress has been achieved in the fields of economic, social cultural, scientific and technological cooperation.
- The Meeting noted that Agreement relating to Privileges and Immunities of the ASEAN Secretariat was signed between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and ASEAN on 20 January 1979.
- The Meeting expressed its Appreciation to the ASEAN Economic Ministers for their role in accelerating ASEAN economic cooperation. It was noted that under the ASEAN Preferential Trading Arrangements (PTA), 1,326 items have already been implemented and that an additional 1,000 items have been exchanged. In this connection it was noted that GATT has endorsed the ASEAN Preferential Trading Arrangements (PTA) and that this will contribute to the expansion of intra-ASEAN trade.
- On ASEAN industrial cooperation, the Meeting noted that in addition to the ASEAN Urea Project (Indonesia) and the ASEAN Urea Project (Malaysia), the ASEAN Rock Salt-Soda Ash Project (Thailand) has been accepted as the third ASEAN Industrial Project. With respect to the ASEAN Urea Project (Indonesia), negotiations are taking place for possible financing from Japan.
- The Meeting noted with satisfaction that agreement has been reached to establish an ASEAN Emergency Rice Reserve of 50,000 metric tons.
- In the fields of transportation and communications, Meeting noted that the first segment of the ASEAN submarine cable network, namely, the Philippines-Singapore segment went into operation in August 1978 and that the segment between Indonesia and Singapore is now being laid. The Indonesian Palapa Satellite Communications System is already being used in the Philippines and Malaysia and will soon be used in Thailand as well.
- In the area of social development and science and technology , the Meeting noted with satisfaction the progress of the on-going projects in the fields of population and family planning control of narcotics and dangerous drugs, food, energy and technology transfer as well as education, health and nutrition.
Cooperation with Third Countries/International Organizations
- The Meeting noted with satisfaction that encouraging results have been achieved in many areas of cooperation with Australia, Canada, the EEC, Japan, New Zealand, the United States and UNDP/ESCAP. Significant events in the development of ASEAN relations with third countries were the meetings at Ministerial level held between ASEAN and the United States on 2-4 August 1978 and between ASEAN and the European Communities on 20-21 November 1978.
- The Meeting noted with satisfaction that ASEAN has continued to develop cooperative ties with the developing countries and their regional organizations, such as the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Cooperation (SPEC) and the Latin American Economic System (SELA).
- The Meeting noted with appreciation the cooperation extended by Australia in hosting the Australia-ASEAN Industrial Cooperation Conference in Melbourne and an ASEAN Trade Fair in Sydney in 1978.
- The Foreign Minister commended the ASEAN experts in education and in population and family planning for the comprehensive ASEAN education programme and the ASEAN population and family planning programme respectively, which are under the ASEAN – Australia Dialogue. The Meeting looked forward to the immediate implementation of the projects and activities.
- The Meeting noted in particular that the financing agreements on the first two projects on ASEAN-EC development cooperation, namely, the Regional Grain Post Harvest Research and Training Centre Study and the Commercialization of the Timber Resources in ASEAN Countries were signed in Brussels in December 1978.
- The Foreign Ministers held the view that the second ASEAN-EC Conference on Industrial Cooperation held in Jakarta on 26-28 February 1979 was a success and represented a major step forward in ASEAN-EC Cooperation.
- The Meeting noted with satisfaction that substantial progress has been made in the exploratory talks between ASEAN and the European Community on a Cooperation Agreement. For this purpose, the Meeting gave a mandate to the ASEAN Ad-Hoc Committee to conduct negotiations with the EC.
- The Meeting noted with appreciation the initial disbursement by Japan of 2 billion Yen out of the pledge of 5 billion Yen towards the ASEAN Cultural Fund which was established by an Agreement signed on 2 December 1978. In this connection, an intra-ASEAN Cultural Programme to be funded by the ASEAN Cultural Fund will soon be implemented.
- The Meeting noted that on 25 May 1979, an Exchange of Notes between the Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat on behalf of ASEAN Governments with the Ambassador of Japan to Indonesia fomalized the setting of the Provisional ASEAN Promotion Centre on Trade, Investment and Tourism in Tokyo.
- The Meeting noted with appreciation the progress in the implementation of animal husbandry and trade expansion projects and under the ASEAN-New Zealand Dialogue. New Zealand has also agreed to upgrade the Report on the End Uses of Timber and to provide assistance to the ASEAN-New Zealand Afforestation Project.
- The Meeting noted with appreciation the implementation of three ASEAN agricultural projects with the United States assistance. The Meeting further noted its satisfaction that steps are now being undertaken by ASEAN in cooperation with the United States to launch cooperation programmes in social development, including the prevention and control of drug abuse and preparedness on occasions of natural disasters. In education and culture, negotiations are taking place for training programmes in two institutions in the region with funding from the United States.
International Economic Issues
- The Foreign Minister reaffirmed ASEAN’s unreserved support of the position of the Group of 77 on the establishment of the International Economic Order and urged the International Community to expedite the implementation of the proposals of the Group of 77 during UNCTAD V. On the question of commodities, the Meeting, while welcoming the progress made in the Common Fund and the International Rubber Agreement negotiations, noted detailed provisions of the International Rubber Agreement remain to be negotiated. In this respect, the Meeting called on the international community to exercise political will for the early establishment of the Common Fund and the International Rubber Agreement.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated their special concern that protectionism had not only become more pronounced in international trade, but had also spread to the services sector, particularly civil aviation. In this connection the Foreign Ministers strongly urged the developed countries to exercise the political will to immediately curb the spread of protectionism and implement the resolution of UNCTAD V on protectionism in the services sector.
- The Foreign Ministers also viewed with great concern the concepts of “selectivity” and “graduation” espoused by certain developed countries.
- Reaffirming the declaration of the Group of 77 during UNCTAD V to reject “graduation” and their great concern over “selectivity”, the Foreign Ministers called on the international community to refrain from adopting such measures.
- The Meeting noted that UNCTAD at its Fifth Session in Manila had passed by consensus a resolution on Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries (ECDC). They expressed support for ECDC as an important element in the establishment of the New International Economic Order and decided that ASEAN should study the implications of ECDC on ASEAN and the ways and means by which ASEAN can contribute to ECDC activities. To this end, the Meeting looked forward to having a Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Group of 77, as presented by the Chairman of the Group of 77 and approved on the occasion of UNCTAD. V, to take place during the 34th session of the UN General Assembly, to consider the creation of the necessary mechanism in which all members of the Group of 77 could adequately participate.
The Private Sector And Non-Governmental Organizations
- The Meeting noted with satisfaction the increasing activities of the ASEAN private sectors and nongovernmental organizations which broaden and strengthen ASEAN cooperation.
- The Foreign Ministers looked forward to their forthcoming meeting in Bali with the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Japan and New Zealand, the Secretary of State of the United States of America and the President of the EC Council.
The Thirteenth Annual Ministerial Meeting
- The Thirteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting will held in Malaysia in 1980.
- The delegations of Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and people of the Republic of Indonesia for the warm and generous hospitality accorded them and for the excellent facilities provided and efficient arrangements made for the Twelfth Ministerial Meeting.
- The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN cordiality and solidarity.
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