- The 20th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, held in Singapore from 15 – 16 June 1987, was formally opened by His Excellency Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore.
- Attending the Meeting were: His 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 Dato’ Haji Abu Hassan bin Haji Omar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia; His Excellency Salvador H. Laurel, Vice- President and Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines; His Excellency S. Dhanabalan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Singapore; His Excellency Air Chief Marshal Siddhi Savetsila, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, and their respective delegations.
- His Excellency Roderick Yong, Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat, and his staff also attended the Meeting.
- His Excellency Brian Amini, High Commissioner of Papua New Guinea to Singapore, as the representative of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Papua New Guinea, attended the Open Sessions as Special Observer.
- His Excellency S. Dhanabalan, Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, chaired the Meeting. His Excellency ACM Siddhi Savetsila, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, was elected Vice-Chairman.
- His Excellency Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, in his Opening Address noted that ASEAN’s twenty-year track record of regional cooperation had contributed to economic growth, social progress and political stability and made ASEAN a credible Organisation. However, fundamental changes were taking place and the next twenty years would tax ASEAN’s ability and ingenuity as it charts new paths to growth and stability. The Prime Minister added that the four big Pacific powers, the United States, Japan, China and the Soviet Union, were all in the midst of basic change. The outcome of their exertions to break through their respective problems would settle the new balances of the competing forces in the Pacific.
- The Prime Minister, remarked that the Soviet Union and China had to make changes in their system to import dynamism into their economics. Their dilemma was how to make the economic system more efficient and productive, without significant loss of the total political control to which their communist parties had been accustomed.
- The Prime Minister observed that the United States faced the problems of declining competitiveness. To exploit its abundant natural resources, technological knowledge and skills, and its lead in the scientific and industrial fields, it had to muster the political will to address the root causes of its enormous budget and trade deficits. The Prime Minister added that it was in ASEAN’s interest to have America recover its competitiveness and become a creditor not a debtor nation. If it did not, the American position as the anchorman of the world’s security would be gradually reduced. Furthermore, the American market was ASEAN’s most important. A loss of American elan would have serious consequences for ASEAN.
- On Japan, the Prime Minister noted that it faced the problems it had created for its trading partners through its massive trade surpluses. Japan had to move away from export led growth to domestic demand. Japan was capable of a major role in the international economic system, and could help revitalise it. It could counter the protectionist tide and set an example for the world by opening its markets, generating domestic growth and investing abroad, including investing in ASEAN. ASEAN looked to Japan to increase economic cooperation with ASEAN through more investments and more trade.
- On ASEAN’s major security problem, the Vietnamese occupation of Kampuchea, the Prime Minister noted that the chances for a negotiated settlement had increased, There had been reassessments of positions in Moscow and Hanoi. An eventual Kampuchean settlement through negotiations followed by withdrawal from Kampuchea was more likely than continuing Vietnamese defiance. Hanoi knew its isolation was the direct result of its present policies, and this isolation had inflicted too heavy a burden on its economy.
- The Prime Minister pointed out that ASEAN was willing to help work out an honorable formula which respected the Kampuchea, people’s rights as well as the security interests of Vietnam. ASEAN wanted to live in peace with its Indochinese neighbors. The Prime Minister added that Vietnam need not leave the solution of its Kampuchean dilemma to just the Soviet Union and China. ASEAN participation under UN auspices was likely to lead to a better solution for Vietnam and the region.
- The Prime Minister remarked that the ASEAN countries themselves were undergoing major changes. The generation born when ASEAN was formed twenty years ago had come of age. They would have to learn, without repeating the errors of the past, that ASEAN cooperation was infinitely preferable to the costly strife and confrontations which result when competing national interests were allowed free rein. The leaders of ASEAN were also preparing the way for younger leaders to take charge. Much depended upon whether this second generation of leaders was able to maintain the pragmatic working relationships of the older leaders.
- The Prime Minister noted that the ASEAN countries should restructure their economies and prepare themselves for the next surge of high economic activity. It was the vitality of the international economic system that decided ASEAN’s fortunes. The ASEAN countries would do well to recognise that if they took steps which diminished the flow of capital, goods and services between themselves, they would harm each other. On the other hand, by increasing cooperation all would benefit by way of bigger foreign investments, more industrialisation, and greater growth in trade and tourism.
- The Prime Minister also referred to the ASEAN Summit at the end of this year. ASEAN cooperation and solidarity could improve economic growth for all. It was time to move forward and open up a new phase of ASEAN cooperation. The Prime Minister concluded by stating that the Ministerial Meeting should help ensure that the future of ASEAN would be as constructive and fruitful as the last twenty yeas had been.
THIRD ASEAN SUMMIT
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the progress of the preparations for the Third ASEAN Summit to be held in Manila from 14 – 16 December 1987. They took note of the Report of the Chairman of the High Level Steering Committee (HLSC) on the progress of the Summit preparations. They agreed that efforts should be intensified to ensure that the Summit will provide new impetus towards qualitative improvements in intra- ASEAN economic cooperation, the strengthening of the ASEAN machinery, the intensification of ASEAN cooperation at all levels, and the enhancement of ASEAN’s international economic relations, particularly with its Dialogue Partners.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that new initiatives for the strengthening of ASEAN economic and functional cooperation, external relations and the ASEAN machinery have been proposed and that the relevant Issues Committees of the HLSC are actively examining these proposals. They also agreed that concrete measures should be devised to channel the energies of the youth towards the strengthening of the political commitment to ASEAN of future generations.
- The Foreign Ministers were pleased to note that the Summit has generated widespread interest not only among ASEAN Governments but also in the private sector, research institutions and academic circles. In particular, the Group of Fourteen of the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the research institutions in member countries have organised a series of seminars and conferences aimed at identifying and recommending new initiatives for consideration at the Summit. In this regard, the Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation for the keen interest shown by the private sector in pursuing closer ASEAN cooperation.
SITUATION IN KAMPUCHEA
- The Foreign Ministers examined the situation in Kampuchea and expressed their deep concern over Vietnam’s continued illegal occupation of Kampuchea. The Foreign Ministers reiterated ASEAN’s conviction that Vietnam’s military occupation of Kampuchea constituted a flagrant violation of the fundamental principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations. Vietnam’s military occupation of Kampuchea, now in its ninth year, also violated the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states and the right of the Kampuchean people to self- determination. The invasion and occupation of Kampuchea by Vietnam continue to pose a gave threat to peace and stability in Southeast Asia, thus endangering international peace and security.
- The Foreign Ministers viewed with concern Vietnam’s continued reliance on a military solution in Kampuchea. They deplored the Vietnamese artillery attacks on civilian refugee camps along the Thai- Kampuchean border and Vietnamese violation of Thailand’s sovereignty and territorial integrity through military incursions. They condemned Vietnam for its occupation of the hills at Chong Bok inside Thailand and called on Vietnam to withdraw its troops from Thai territory. The Foreign Ministers also reiterated their full support for Thailand’s actions in the exercise of its legitimate right of self-defence and reaffirmed their solidarity with the Government and people of Thailand.
- The Foreign Ministers once again called for a comprehensive political settlement in Kampuchea based on a total withdrawal of foreign forces, the restoration of Kampuchea independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, self-determination for the Kampuchean people under UN auspices and the achievement of national reconciliation in Kampuchea. They called on Vietnam to accept an independent, neutral and non-aligned Kampuchea.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the validity of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Joint Appeal for Kampuchean Independence of 20 September 1983 and reiterated their support for the CGDK’s Eight-Point Proposal of 17 March 1986 as a constructive framework for negotiations. The urged Vietnam to reconsider its rejection of the Eight-Point Proposal. They also called upon the international community to continue to support the proposal
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their support for the CGDK under the Presidency of Samdech Norodom Sihanouk. They were heartened by the military successes achieved by the nationalist resistance forces against the Vietnamese occupation.
- The Foreign Ministers also recorded their warm appreciation to the international community for its continued support of the CGDK They saw the overwhelming support for the Resolution on the Situation in Kampuchea at the 41st UNGA as clear evidence of the international community’s disapproval of Vietnam’s continued occupation of Kampuchea. The Foreign Ministers also expressed their gratitude to the President of the ICK, His Excellency, Leopold Gratz, for his untiring efforts in helping to find a solution to the Kampuchean problem. Recognizing the important contributions made by the ICK-AD Hoc Committee, they also expressed their sincere thanks to its Chairman, His Excellency Massamba Sarre of Senegal and to all its members for their commitment to a peaceful settlement.
- The Foreign Ministers recorded their gratitude to the UN Secretary-General, His Excellency Javier Perez de Cuellar for his commendable efforts in the search for a comprehensive political settlement to the Kampuchean problem in accordance with the relevant UNGA resolutions and also to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs in Southeast Asia, His Excellency Raffeeudin Ahmed. The Foreign Ministers reiterated their belief that the UN has an important and constructive role to play in the search for a political solution to the Kampuchean problem.
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the diplomatic efforts of ASEAN to help achieve a comprehensive and durable political settlement for the Kampuchean problem, They reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to continue efforts in seeking such a solution in accordance with the relevant UNGA resolutions on the situation in Kampuchea. In this regard, they expressed their appreciation to the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, His Excellency Professor Dr. Mochtar Kusumaatmadja for the useful role he has played as ASEAN’s interlocutor with Vietnam and his endeavours to explore and broaden the options available for a settlement to the Kampuchean problem.
- The Foreign Ministers were of the view that Vietnam’s basic position on Kampuchea has not changed, despite its recent attempts to give the impression of flexibility. This was also evident in Vietnam’s outright rejection of the CGDK’s Eight-Point Proposal. They deplored the lack of any genuine effort so far on the part of Vietnam for a political settlement as called for by an overwhelming majority of countries in the United, Nations. They hoped the new leadership in Vietnam will show a willingness to find a political settlement to the Kampuchcean problem.
- The Foreign Ministers called on the international community not to forget the plight of the Kampuchean people in their just struggle against the Vietnamese aggression. They called on all countries, including the Soviet Union, to urge Vietnam to settle the Kampuchean problem peacefully.
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the refugee situation and expressed deep concern over the serious plight of Kampuchean refugees and displaced persons uprooted because of the continuing Vietnamese occupation of Kampuchea. The Ministers deplored the shelling and firing into civilian camps at the Thai- Kampuchean border. They recalled in particular Vietnamese shelling on 31 May 1987 of the United Nations assisted Site 2 camp on Thai soil in which seven Kampucheans were killed and several wounded. They condemned the Vietnamese military incursions into Thai territory. These incidents have caused casualties not only to the civilian Kampuchean population but also to the Thai villagers living near the border.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that since the invasion of Kampuchea in 1978, hundreds of thousands of Indochinese refugees have fled their countries and have taken temporary refuge in the ASEAN countries. They were gravely concerned that while resettlement in third countries was slowing down, the influx of Vietnamese refugees and illegal immigrants by sea to the ASEAN countries, especially Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines Indonesia has continued unabated.
- The Foreign Ministers were in agreement that the responsibility for the continuing exodus of Indochinese refugees and illegal immigrants and their suffering and hardship lay with Vietnam. They called on Vietnam to put an end to the exodus of refugees and illegal immigrants to the neighbouring countries. To emphasize their grave concern over the seriousness of the refugee problem, the Foreign Ministers issued a Joint Statement on 14 June 1987.
- The Foreign Ministers appealed to the international community to continue to render assistance in relieving the plight of the Indochinese refugees and displaced persons, especially those greatest along the Thai- Kampuchean border who have the greatest and the most urgent need for such international assistance while the conflict in Kampuchea continues. In their view, these refugees and displaced persons should ultimately be resettled in third countries or voluntarily repatriated to their countries of origin. While the Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the continuing adherence of the ASEAN countries to the generally accepted humanitarian principles, they also reiterated the understanding that there should be no residual refugee problem in the ASEAN countries.
- The Foreign Ministers thanked the United Nations Secretary-General for his continuing support and humanitarian role in helping to alleviate the plight of Indochinese refugees and displaced persons. The Foreign Ministers also commended the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for his assistance and continuing efforts in the Indochinese refugee resettlement programme and in the screening of Laotian refugees in Thailand. They also commended the UNHCR for organising the Orderly Departure Programme (ODP) from Vietnam which is one of the means of resettlement of the refugees in third countries. They also recorded their sincere gratitude to the former UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Coordination of Kampuchean Humanitarian Assistance Programmes, Mr. Tatsuro Kunugi for his outstanding contribution. They welcomed his successor, Mr. SAMS. Kibria to the post and assured him of their cooperation. The Ministers also reiterated their deep appreciation to the United Nations Border Relief Operation (UNBRO) for its commendable contribution, in cooperation with the World Food Programme, the Office of the UNHCR, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other organizations and voluntary agencies concerned, towards relieving the sufferings of the Indochinese refugees and displaced persons.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed ASEAN’s determination to pursue efforts towards the realization of the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) in Southeast Asia, while recognizing that the Kampuchean problem remains an obstacle to the attainment of this Objective. They recalled the mandate of the Senior Officials and the Working Group on ZOPFAN to continue with the consideration of the concept of a Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone (SEANWFZ) as a component of ZOPFAN, with a view to drafting as soon as possible a treaty on the SEANWFZ, taking into account all its implications. The Foreign Ministers noted with appreciation the work done so far by Working Group and the Drafting Committee on the drafting of the treaty and requested the Senior Officials to continue their consideration of the subject in all its aspects.
REVIEW OF ASEAN COOPERATION
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the progress made in ASEAN cooperation and noted with satisfaction the extensive programmes and activities carried out in the past year to promote ASEAN’s objectives. The Foreign Ministers also noted the preparations made for the Third ASEAN Summit.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation to other ASEAN Ministers for their continued efforts to promote further cooperative endeavours within their respective areas of responsibility. They noted with satisfaction that a number of ministerial meetings were held, particularly the 18th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting, the Sixth Meeting of ASEAN Labour Ministers, the Sixth Meeting of ASEAN Economic Ministers on Energy Cooperation, and the Eight of ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry. These Meetings resulted in many decisions being carried out and several projects being implemented, thus contributing to further enhance ASEAN cooperation.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the progress that was achieved in ASEAN economic cooperation. Among the achievements were: the improvement made to the ASEAN industrial Joint Ventures (AIJV) Scheme; the conclusion of the Agreement On Preferential Short-listing of ASEAN Contractors to promote the development of the construction industry in the ASEAN region; the Agreement by ASEAN’s Central Bank/Monetary Authorities to extend the ASEAN Swap Arrangement by another five years and the doubling of the available credit line from US$ 100 million to US$ 200 million, or US$ 40 million per member country; the proposed establishment of an ASEAN Tourism Information Centre in Kuala Lumpur and continued efforts to promote ASEAN’ as one tourist destination the establishment of an ASEAN – EC Energy Management Research and Training Centre in Jakarta; the establishment of the ASEAN Poultry Disease Research and Training Centre; and the Upgrading of the ASEAN Reinsurance Pool to a Corporation with an initial paid-up capital of US$ 3 million.
- The Foreign Minister, noted with satisfaction the continued intensive cooperation in the socio-cultural and scientific fields. The number of projects implemented by the ASEAN Committees on Culture and Information, Social Development, and Science and Technology accounted for a majority of cooperation activities in ASEAN. The activities involved a wide spectrum of ASEAN participants covering youth and women, researchers, scientists as well as social, cultural, media, educational and health workers. These activities have further promoted ASEAN awareness and a sense of regional identity among the ASEAN peoples.
- The Foreign Ministers signed the Supplementary Agreement to Amend the Basic Agreement on ASEAN Industrial Joint Ventures (BAAIJV) which raises the minimum margin of tariff preference for AIJV products from 50% to 75%.
- The, Foreign Ministers were of the view that the 20th Anniversary of ASEAN marks a significant milestone in its history and noted that various activities would be carried out by member countries on this auspicious occasion.
PRIVATE SECTOR AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS
- The Foreign Ministers commended the private sector including the ASEAN – CCI, the research institutions in member countries and the ASEAN non-governmental organisations, for continuing involvement in ASEAN activities and for its keen interest in exploring new initiatives for future ASEAN cooperation. They encouraged such a development and expressed the hope that extensive and wider cooperation within the private sector would enhance intra-ASEAN cooperation.
- The, Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction with the close cooperation among ASEAN Senior Officials on Drugs, and between and among member countries in combating illicit drugs, and commended the continued efforts and contributions made by non-governmental organisations in the eradication of drug abuse. The Foreign Ministers commended the recent workshop to establish an ASEAN Network of Parents’ Movement against Drug Abuse. Further encouragement should be give. to involve parents in complementing governmental efforts to combat drug abuse among trend younger generation.
- The Foreign Ministers commended the untiring efforts of the UN Secretary General and those of the various bodies within the UN system in combating the drug problem. The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction that ASEAN’s efforts in soliciting the support of the international community to cooperate intensively in combating the spread of drug abuse and trafficking had achieved fruitful results. Pursuant to the UN General Assembly Resolution 40/122 of 1985, the International Conference on Drug Abuse and illicit Trafficking (ICDAIT) will be held in Vienna 17 – 26 June 1987. ASEAN expressed its gratitude and appreciation to those countries which had given their support for the candidatures of Malaysia and Thailand for the posts of President and Vice-President of the Conference respectively. At that Conference, ASEAN will play a leading role to ensure that the fight against the drug menace will be waged relentlessly by the international community.
COOPERATION WITH DIALOGUE PARTNERS
- The Foreign Ministers noted that further progress, had been made in ASEAN’s cooperation with its Dialogue Partners, namely, Australia, Canada, the European Community, Japan, New Zealand and the United States. They further noted that a number of new projects were implemented under UNDP funding. They expressed the appreciation for the cooperation that the Dialogue Partners and the UNDP had rendered to ASEAN’s development projects which produced concrete and positive results. The Foreign Ministers stressed that in the conduct of its Dialogues with the developed countries, ASEAN would continue to attach great importance to commercial and industrial cooperation, market access, investment and technology transfer. They expressed the hope that further progress would be made in these areas.
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the ASEAN – Australia dialogue relations. They noted with appreciation Australia’s substantial assistance over the years which significantly contributed to ASEAN’s development cooperation efforts. They also noted that the ASEAN – Australia Economic Cooperation Programme (AAECP) was undergoing a comprehensive review. They instructed their senior officials to hold consultations within the framework of the ASEAN – Australia Forum concerning the future direction of the AAECP.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the, positive outcome of the -Fourth ASEAN – Canada Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting in Bangkok in November 1986. The , Foreign Ministers also noted with appreciation Canada’s decision to fully fund the ASEAN Human Resource Development (HRD) projects, to increase the ASEAN Scholarship Fund for ASEAN nationals to study in Canada, and to embark on the second phase of the ASEAN Forest Tree Seed Centre project in Thailand. The Foreign Ministers further noted the decision of the private sectors of ASEAN and Canada to promote closer cooperation through the establishment of the ASEAN – Canada Business Council, as well as Canada’s efforts to encourage trade and investment cooperation with ASEAN. The Foreign Ministers also noted that the ASEAN – Canada Economic Cooperation Agreement had been for a further period of two years from 1 January 1987.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction with the successful conclusion of the Fifth ASEAN – EC Ministerial Meeting (AEMM VI), Jakarta, October 1986. The substantive and frank exchange of views at that Meeting on political and economic issues of mutual interest had contributed to a better understanding of each other’s positions. They stressed the importance of the AEMM VI decision to establish the Joint Investment Committees in the ASEAN capitals and expressed the hope that these Committees would contribute to the promotion of European investments in the ASEAN region.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the successful conclusion of the Seventh ASEAN – EEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) Meeting, Jakarta April/May 1987, including the agreement on the need for new and concerted efforts to promote industrial cooperation between the two regions. They expressed satisfaction with the implementation of several projects in the past year and the approval of several new projects at the JCC Meeting.
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the ASEAN – Japan Dialogue relations and expressed satisfaction that ASEAN and Japan had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to extend the Agreement on the ASEAN Promotion Centre on Trade, Investment and Tourism (APC) for a further period of five years beginning from May 1987. They were confident that the extension would facilitate the increase of Japanese investment in ASEAN, promote access of ASEAN products to the Japanese market and increase the flow of Japanese tourists to the ASEAN region.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with appreciation Japan’s response to the call of, the ASEAN Economic Ministers at their Eighteenth Meeting in August 1986 to help reduce the debt burden of ASEAN countries. They expressed the hope that further reductions in the interest rates and other similar measures could be taken by Japan to further relieve ASEAN’s economic burden.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed the view that Japan could play a greater role in the economic development of ASEAN and in facilitating closer ASEAN economic cooperation. The Foreign Ministers noted that the large trade surplus and foreign reserves of Japan would enable it to assume such a role. Japan could also help to facilitate, the flow of Japanese investments to ASEAN through the provision of attractive financial assistance, and incentives for its private sector. The Foreign Ministers welcomed Japan’s readiness to help promote industrial development in ASEAN through the provision of favourable financing support. The Foreign Ministers were confident that the enhanced Japanese role in ASEAN economic cooperation, together with the liberalisation of Japan’s import policy, would enable ASEAN to significantly increase its trade ad economic ties with Japan.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the positive outcome of the Eighth ASEAN New Zealand Dialogue, Wellington, April 1987. At this Dialogue, both sides agreed to prioritize the areas of development cooperation and to focus future projects on trade and investment promotion activities and interinstitutional ages in the professional, academic, commercial, scientific and technological fields. Concerning regional and international trade matters, ASEAN and New Zealand officials held informal consultations in Bandar Seri Begawan in April 1987. On the GSP issue, the Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction with the New Zealand Government’s positive response to the ASEAN request lists of products for reinstatement at developing countries tariff rates for Brunei Darussalam and Singapore.
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed. ASEAN’s relations with the United States and expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the past year under the ASEAN – US Dialogue and the smooth implementation of the various development projects.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the firm action taken by President Ronald Reagan in vetoing the Jenkins Bill and in resisting other protectionist legislation in the Congress. They however felt that in the fight of the persisting budget and trade deficits in the United States, protectionist pressure in the Congress would continue to threaten ASEAN’s export interest and could force the US Administration to take protectionist measures against ASEAN’s export. They urged that protectionism should continue to be resisted in the interests of all concerned.
- The Foreign Ministers recalled the decision of the ASEAN Economic Ministers in August 1986 to continue to explore the ASEAN – US Initiative (AUI), and the discussion between ASEAN and the United States at their Seventh Dialogue in Singapore in May 1986. They noted that an ASEAN memorandum on the AUI had been presented to the US side at the Seventh Dialogue and that ASEAN senior trade officials and Assistant USTR had held exploratory technical discussions during the 20th COTT Meeting in November 1985. The Foreign Ministers agreed that the matter should be pursued further.
- The Foreign Ministers noted its satisfaction that the UNDP had allocated US$ 9.8 million for ASEAN’s development projects under the 4th Cycle (1987 – 1991), and that a number of projects were implemented, with several new project documents signed in the past year.
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ISSUES
- In reviewing the international economic environment the Foreign Ministers noted the weak economic growth of the developed economies and the adverse effects it had on the growth and development prospects of the developing countries. They expressed grave concern over the proliferation of protectionist policies, pressures and measures in developed countries, the continued depressed level of commodity prices; the instability of exchange rates; and the lack of a comprehensive solution to the world debt situation. The Foreign Ministers expressed the hope that these obstacles to growth in both the developed and developing countries would be addressed seriously and expeditiously by the international community with the view to arriving at appropriate solutions for sustained global economic growth.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that despite the successful launch of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, the developed countries had failed to observe the standstill and rollback commitments undertaken at Punta del Este. The Foreign Ministers were concerned with the increased tendency to resort to unilateral and bilateral measures outside the framework of the GATT in settling trade problems and disputes. This had led to a weakening of the GATT and the increased danger of trade wars. The Foreign Ministers emphasised the importance of maintaining and strengthening the open trading system as embodied by the GATT. They called on all countries to actively support the GATT and to strengthen the rules of international trade through cooperative efforts in the Uruguay Round.
- The Foreign Ministers further called on developed countries to remove all agricultural subsidies and other measures which distort trade in agriculture and to allow the principles of comparative advantage to apply.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated the importance of commodity earnings to developing countries. The current situation of depressed commodity prices had severely affected the tens of trade of ASEAN and other developing countries. The Foreign Ministers called for concerted international action to arrive at practical solutions to ensure stable and more remunerative commodity prices.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their concern over the adverse effects of fluctuating exchange rates on the growth of world trade and the difficulties created for developing countries, particularly in the planning and execution of their debt servicing, debt management and trading activities. The Foreign Ministers called for international action to ensure stability of currency markets.
- The Foreign Ministers viewed with concern the continuing debt problem in any developing countries. They expressed regret that a comprehensive solution to the debt burden of the developing countries had still not been found. This has threatened the international financial system and affected the growth prospects of both developed and developing countries. The Foreign Ministers called for urgent international action to rectify the situation.
- The Foreign Ministers noted the growing trend of developed countries to invest in other developed countries to overcome trade barriers. They reiterated the need for a greater flow of investments from developed countries to developing countries. The Foreign Ministers also expressed their concern that the lack of investments would reduce the transfer of technology to the developing countries.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated their support for the forthcoming UNCTAD VII. The Conference would provide an opportunity for developing and developed countries to discuss the problems which hamper growth, to work closely together to arrive at solutions for the revitalisation of the global economy and to create a more responsive environment for sustained growth and development of developing countries.
COMMISSION ON SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION
- The Foreign Ministers were encouraged by the support of many of the developing countries for the establishment of the Independent Commission of the South on Development Issues under the chairmanship of His Excellency Dr. Julius Nyerere. They noted with satisfaction that the Secretariat of the Commission would be established soon. They called upon all countries of the South to support the work of the Commission.
- The Foreign Ministers, despite their persistent and grave concern with the continuing escalation of the global arms race, particularly in its nuclear dimension, noted with interest some encouraging developments in multilateral and bilateral arms limitation and disarmament endeavours including the bilateral negotiations on intermediate range nuclear forces in Geneva. They appealed to all countries, particularly the major powers, to demonstrate political will and to engage in genuine dialogue and negotiations towards the removal and destruction of nuclear and chemical weapons. To this end, the major powers should take into account the security concerns of all states and not merely their own global strategic interests.
- The Foreign Ministers recognized that the decision to convene the Third Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Disarmament (SSOD III) is timely due to the profound sense of urgency with which members of the United Nations view the danger of the incalculable consequences inherent in the continuation of the arms race and which portend a new spiral in its nuclear aspect. The Foreign Ministers expressed the hope that it should be held in 1988 as called for in UNGA resolution 41/60 G of 1986.
- The Foreign Ministers looked forward to the convening of the International Conference on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development to be held in New York, 24 August – 11 September 1987. They expressed the hope that all the members of the United Nations, especially states which possess the largest military arsenals and most developed states, would participate actively in the Conference to ensure its success, in an earnest effort to promote economic and social development of all nations through the implementation of disarmament measures.
- The Foreign Ministers viewed with concern the unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict. They reiterated their full support for the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination, and the resolution of Arab sovereignty over their occupied territories. The Foreign Ministers called for renewed efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement by negotiations. Towards this end, they expressed support for the convening of the International Peace Conference on the Middle East under the auspices of the United Nations. As regard the Iran-Iraq War, the Foreign Ministers renewed their appeal for an end to the war and called for and honourable solution of the conflict.
- The Foreign Ministers agreed that the occupation, of Afghanistan by foreign forces is of grave concern to the international community and continues to be a major source of international instability. They reiterated their call for the total withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and the restoration of the inherent right of the Afghan people to freely determine their own destiny. They were of the firm view that a sovereign, independent and non-aligned Afghanistan is essential for regional and global peace and stability. They also reiterated their support for the UN Secretary-General’s efforts to bring about a comprehensive political settlement of the problem.
- The. Foreign Ministers approved the budget of the ASEAN Secretariat for the financial year 1987/1988. They noted that the question relating to the strengthening of the ASEAN Secretariat was being actively studied by the Issues Committee on Machinery for ASEAN Cooperation.
TWENTY-FIRST ASEAN MINISTERIAL MEETING
- The Foreign Ministers agreed that the 21st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting will be held in Bangkok on 4 – 5 July 1988.
- The Delegations of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand expressed their sincere and deep appreciation to the Government and people of Singapore for the warm, and generous hospitality accorded to them, the excellent facilities provided, and the efficient arrangements made for the Meeting.
- The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN friendship and solidarity.