1. The Twenty-Fourth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was held in Kuala Lumpur from 19 to 20 July 1991. The Meeting was formally opened by the Honourable Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia.

2. The Meeting was attended by His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam; His Excellency Mr. Ali Alatas, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia; His Excellency Datuk Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia; His Excellency Mr. Raul S. Manglapus, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines; His Excellency Mr. Wong Kan Seng, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, His Excellency Mr. Arsa Sarasin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and their respective delegations.

3. His Excellency Mr. Rusli Noor, Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat, and his staff were also present.

4. His Excellency Sir. Michael Somare GCMG, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Papua New Guinea, attended the open session as Observer.

5. His Excellency Mr. Yuri Maslyukov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Soviet Union and His Excellency Mr. Qian Qichen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, attended the open session as guests of the Government of Malaysia.

6. His Excellency Datuk Abdullah bin Ahmad Badawi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, chaired the Meeting. His Excellency Mr. Raul S. Manglapus, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines was elected Vice Chairman.


7. In his Opening Address, the Honourable Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia stated that, in the ASEAN experience, member countries have learnt that both at the national and regional levels, peace and security, democracy and freedom as well as stability are possible and sustainable only when the people are free from economic deprivation and have a stake in the national life. He disagreed, however, that democracy has only one definition or that political systems quality as democratic only when they measure up to certain particular yardsticks. Therefore, when the issue of human rights is linked to trade, investment and finance, ASEAN cannot but view it as added conditionalities and protectionism by other means. On the question of security, the Prime Minister said it is from a strong ASEAN base that we should approach the question of peace and security of the immediate wider environment in the Asia-Pacific region. ASEAN has already made its mark in terms of geo-politics. It is equally important that ASEAN should be made relevant in terms of geostrategy. Regionalism in Southeast Asia has to be brought to a higher plane from the process of communication and consultation to that of conscious and organised interdependence between all the regional states.

8. The Prime Minister emphasized that at this time of uncertain global economic developments brought about by trade disputes between the economic superpowers, rising protectionism and closed regionalism, ASEAN and the other East Asian countries must act in concert to maintain an open global trading system. He felt that a strong and united ASEAN could bring the East Asia Economic Group into shape for the benefit of all. He stressed that ASEAN must proceed to a higher plane of cooperation, collective action and self-reliance in order to have an effective voice in the international, inter-regional and multilateral fora. He called upon ASEAN member states to exercise collective will to achieve the objectives of greater trade liberalization and integration of the ASEAN economies. He supported the recent proposal made by H.E. the Prime Minister of Thailand for the Establishment of a Free Trade Area by the turn of the century. He believed in the need for a strong and effective ASEAN Secretariat to bring about an increase in the substance of ASEAN economic cooperation.


9. The Foreign Ministers had an extensive exchange of views on the latest international developments. They noted that the emerging strategic relationships that evolved following the end of the Cold War and their impact are as yet unclear. This is further blurred by evolving international economic alignments as well as efforts to make environmental concerns and human rights considerations new conditionalities in development assistance and inter-state relations.

10. The Foreign Ministers welcomed the positive developments in Central and Eastern Europe which have contributed to the improvement of the political and economic climate particularly in Europe. The Foreign Ministers noted with concern the instability prevailing in the region and urged that differences be resolved peacefully. They also noted that Central and Eastern European countries require assistance in their reform and reconstruction efforts. In recognising these needs, they expressed the hope that the developed countries would maintain their interest and continue to make available new and additional resources to developing countries and, in particular, to the countries in South East Asia.

11. The Foreign Ministers noted that the evolving international environment has implications for the rapidly developing East Asia region. They welcomed the generally improving situation in the broader Asia Pacific but noted that there remained areas and issues that require attention.

12. The Foreign Ministers took note of the increasing interest in issues relating to peace and security in the region. They were of the view that ZOPFAN, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South East Asia and the PMC (Post Ministerial Conferences) process are appropriate bases for addressing the regional peace and security issues in the nineties.

13. The Foreign Ministers reiterated that ASEAN, in responding to the challenges of the nineties, should be more dynamic and forward-looking. ASEAN should strengthen itself and intensify intra regional cooperation. They expressed the hope that the non-ASEAN South East Asian nations could find it possible to participate in the activities of the region. They also recognised that ASEAN and other countries in the East Asia region and the broader Asia Pacific should engaged in regular constructive consultations.

14. In this connection, the Foreign Ministers noted the report of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines on the seminar on the theme “ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific Region: Prospects for Security Cooperation in the 1990’s”, which was organized by his Department and held in Manila from 5 to 7 June 1991 with the participation of senior experts from the government and academic sectors of ASEAN and a number of other countries. The Foreign Ministers further noted that a second seminar on the same theme, to be organized by the International Study Centre, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, will be held in Thailand in November 1991, and that the objective of the two seminars is to provide an opportunity for a frank and informal discussion by recognized experts, which could be of interest to governments, on the requirements of security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, with a special focus on Southeast Asia, during the present decade and beyond. The Foreign Ministers regarded these initiatives as useful and constructive building blocks for the enhancement of regional security.

15. The Foreign Ministers exchanged views on the issue of human rights and noted with concern its tendentious application in inter-state relations. They agreed that while human rights is universal in character, implementation in the national context should remain within the competence and responsibility of each country, having regard for the complex variety of economic, social and cultural realities. They emphasized that the international application of human rights be narrow and selective nor should it violate the sovereignty of nations.


16. The Foreign Ministers reviewed the latest developments regarding the situation in Cambodia and the continuing efforts within the negotiating process of the Paris Conference on Cambodia (PCC), as well as the efforts of all concerned countries, and in particular, the Cambodian parties, to achieve a comprehensive political settlement. They reiterated their support for the continuing efforts of the Co-Chairmen of the PCC to reconvene at the earliest possible date, the Paris Conference on Cambodia with the view to finalising the draft agreements.

17. The Foreign Ministers welcomed the Framework Document on a comprehensive political settlement agreed to by the Five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council in August, 1990. The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the agreement achieved by the Cambodian parties at the Jakarta Informal Meeting on 10 September 1990 to the Framework Document in its entirety as the basis for settling the Cambodian conflict as well as the establishment of the Supreme National Council (SNC) of Cambodia.

18. The Foreign Ministers reiterated their full support for the said Framework Document unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council (Res. 668) on 20 September 1990 and by the UN General Assembly (Res. 45/3) on 15 October 1990. This Framework Document constitutes a major contribution and has become the basis for the efforts to achieve a comprehensive political settlement of the Cambodian question.

19. They expressed satisfaction with the elaboration of the Framework Document into the draft Agreements on a comprehensive political settlement by the Co-Chairmen of the PCC and the Five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council at the Paris Meeting, 23-26 November 1990. They noted that the SNC had agreed to most of the fundamental points of the draft Agreements at its meeting with the Co-Chairmen of the PCC. However, they expressed concern that the involved parties are still far apart on some aspects of the remaining issues pertaining to military arrangements, genocide and the role of the United Nations during the transitional period.

20. The Foreign Ministers welcomed HRH Samdech Norodom Sihanouk’s initiative in convening and presiding over the meeting of the SNC in Pattaya, 24-26 June 1991. They also welcomed the Final Communiqué of the meeting, in particular, the decision to set up the SNC Headquarters in Phnom Penh as well as the agreements on the unlimited ceasefire and cessation of foreign arms supply. They urged the SNC to work out as soon as possible the modalities with the UN for the control and monitoring of the ceasefire and the cessation of foreign arms supply.

21. The Foreign Ministers reemphasized the fundamental right of Cambodians to choose their own government in free and fair elections supervised by the United Nations. They reiterated that human rights in Cambodia should be fully protected. They also expressed the view that any settlement should prevent the return to the genocidal practices and policies of the past and that no Cambodian party should be allowed to seize or retain power through force of arms.

22. They recorded their appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar, the UN Secretary General, for his valuable efforts in finding a comprehensive political settlement to the Cambodian problem. They also expressed their thanks to His Excellency Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs in South East Asia, and welcomed his presence at the 24th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting.


23. The Foreign Ministers expressed their deep concern that, notwithstanding two years of efforts in implementing the Comprehensive Plan of Action, countries of temporary refuge (CTR) are no nearer to a durable solution of the problem of the Vietnamese boat people. The total number of the Vietnamese boat people in camps of the affected CTR remain as high as in 1979.

24. The Foreign Ministers reiterated their commitment to the objectives of the CPA and reaffirmed the importance of a balanced and coordinated implementation of the CPA which must lead to the resettlement of all refugees in third countries and repatriation of non refugees to Vietnam within the time-frame agreed to at the 1989 International Conference on lndochinese Refugees in Geneva.

25. The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the resettlement of the pre Cut-off-Date arrivals which had exceeded the targets set for the first two years of CPA’s implementation as well as the expansion of the Orderly Departure Programme. In this connection, they expressed their deep appreciation to all parties concerned for their cooperation.

26. While acknowledging the significant decline in recent months in the arrivals of the Vietnamese boat people to ASEAN countries concerned, the Foreign Ministers urged Vietnam to tighten measures to check the clandestine departures of its people to avoid a reversal of the situation.

27. The Foreign Ministers reiterated their position that the viability of the CPA requires the urgent resolution of the fundamental question of repatriation to Vietnam of all boat people who are determined to be non refugees. In this connection, they expressed their deep concern over the increasing number of this category of people who have refused repatriation. The Foreign Ministers emphasized that the continuation of such a situation is unacceptable. In recalling the Jakarta Joint Statement of 24 July 1990 by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers on the problem of the Vietnamese boat people, they urged that internationally-managed centres in Vietnam for non refugees, as envisaged in the CPA, be established as an effective intermediate solution involuntary repatriation.

28. The Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation for the role played by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in supporting international efforts to solve this problem and welcomed his readiness to monitor all non refugees back to Vietnam, regardless of their mode of return. In this connection, they called on the international community to provide the UNHCR the necessary financial resources for these purposes.


29. The Foreign Ministers reviewed the situation in the Middle East in the Post Gulf War period. They welcomed the restoration of the legitimate Government of Kuwait and reaffirmed their commitment to the sovereignty, unity, and independence and territorial integrity of all countries in the region.

30. The Foreign Ministers emphasized that the immediate post War period is an opportune moment to address the fundamental causes of instability within the region, in particular the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question. They took note of the efforts of the United States in promoting peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian question. They reaffirmed their support for the convening of an International Conference under the auspices of the UN to work out a peace settlement. In this connection, they stressed the need to adhere to the UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which would uphold the right to security of all states in the region, including that of Israel, and recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination with all that this implies, in particular, their right to a homeland.

31. The Foreign Ministers deplored the continuing establishment of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.


32. The Foreign Ministers reiterated their total rejection of the system of apartheid and reaffirmed their commitment to its complete elimination so that a new, non-racist, united and democratic society could be built in its place. While welcoming the repeal of apartheid legislations in South Africa, they stressed that these reforms must in reality lead to the attainment by the black majority population of South Africa of all political, economic and social rights enjoyed by the whites, to be guaranteed within the framework of a new Constitution of South Africa.

33. The Foreign Ministers noted with concern the continuing inter-factional violence in South Africa which has impeded the process of working towards the drafting of a new, non-racist and democratic Constitution. They called on the regime of South Africa to fulfill its responsibilities in maintaining law and order and urged leaders of all parties to restrain their followers and promote an atmosphere of political tolerance.

34. Recognising the positive developments taking place in South Africa, they were of the view that the phased lifting of sanctions should be commensurate with progress towards the achievement of irreversible change and towards the attainment of an apartheid-free South Africa.


35. The Foreign Ministers reviewed the international economic situation. They expressed their concern on the present global economic slowdown and the adverse impact it has on trade and growth of developing countries. They called for greater efforts to stimulate global economic growth by finding solutions to the problems of high inflation, low growth rates, debt overhang and increasing trade protectionism. They also noted the increasing competing demand for capital and investment resources from Eastern Europe, from the indebted countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa, as well as to meet the needs of reconstruction in the Gulf and in the Soviet Union.

36. The Foreign Ministers reiterated the need to increase global savings to deal with the shortage of funds needed for reconstruction and structural adjustments. They agreed that this should be accompanied by effective utilization of funds to support well-designed economic policies and programmes.

37. On the external debt problem, the Foreign Ministers welcomed some progress made in resolving the debt crisis. Nevertheless, the Foreign Ministers viewed with concern the continuing high level of debt which impinges on sustainable growth and development. The Foreign Ministers urged that a coordinated tripartite approach involving debtors, creditor countries and financial institutions be undertaken to speed up debt relief efforts and to allow for recovery to take place in the countries concerned. They took note of the recent write-off of bilateral official debts of selected countries and expressed the hope that these extended to the other indebted countries as well. They also recognised that indebted developing countries are dependent on agriculture. Therefore, in order to reach a permanent long-term solution, it is of utmost urgency that the markets for agricultural products in developed countries must be liberalised.

38. The Foreign Ministers expressed disappointment over the failure of the Brussels Ministerial Meeting to successfully conclude the Uruguay Round of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations. Concerned with the slow pace of the resumed negotiations, the Foreign Ministers called upon all participants, especially the developed countries, to exert the necessary political will to ensure that negotiations get underway in a purposeful manner to enable its early and successful conclusion. They expressed the hope that there should be comprehensive and balanced results which take into account the interest of all parties, especially the developmental needs and concerns of developing countries.

39. The Foreign Ministers reiterated that environment and development are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. Economic development is as much an inherent right of the people as it is a pressing responsibility for governments in developing countries. The Ministers agreed that the measures for the protection of the environment should support economic growth and sustainable development.

40. The Foreign Ministers, in reaffirming their determination to work together for the success of the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Environment and Development scheduled to take place in Brazil in 1992, stressed that any global initiative should be balanced in approach and take into account the interests of both developing and developed countries. The concept of equitable sharing of responsibilities and the ability of developing countries to respond to environmental challenges should be taken into account.

41. The Foreign Ministers called upon developed countries to substantially assist developing countries by providing new and additional resources, transfer of and access to environmentally sound technologies. They should also assist in ensuring a supportive international economic environment which would promote economic growth and development in developing countries.

42. The Foreign Ministers noted the dynamic performance of East Asian economies in an environment of declining global growth and increasing protectionism in the international trading system. They called upon East Asian countries to further strengthen economic cooperation and increase interdependence among them so as to enhance trade and investment flows in the region which would also contribute to global growth and development.

43. The Foreign Ministers expressed their views that the emerging global economic order must be one which provides for more equal economic opportunities for all nations, an important feature of which should be the strengthening of an open international trading system. The Ministers expressed their resolve to exert all efforts towards this end.


44. The Foreign Ministers reviewed intra-ASEAN cooperation over the last year and welcomed the various measures, activities and programmes of action carried out by the ASEAN Economic Ministers and the Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry, Energy, Environment, Information, Labour, Science and Technology and Social Affairs. They also commended the continuing efforts and cooperation of the drug agencies and non-governmental organizations in ASEAN in combatting drug abuse and illicit trafficking. These activities clearly reflect the broad front of intra-ASEAN cooperation.

45. The Foreign Ministers noted that there now exists a growing awareness of the need for ASEAN to be a dynamic, vibrant and resilient organization in order to face the growing political and economic challenges of the 90s. They took note that the 24th ASEAN Standing Committee had paid particular attention to this and welcomed the various efforts, measures and initiatives taken to meet this goal.

46. They noted, in particular, that a number of studies to strengthen intra-ASEAN cooperation, had been commissioned. These included the Review on ASEAN-UNDP Technical Cooperation Programme; Study on ASEAN Economic Cooperation for the 1990s; Study of the Exclusion Lists to enhance the level of PTA Trade in lntra-ASEAN Trade and the annual ASEAN Macroeconomics Outlook.

47. The Foreign Ministers also welcomed and adopted the recommendations of the ASEAN Standing Committee on the new criteria and the guidelines for the generation and selection of projects which arose out of the study on the Review of ASEAN-UNDP Technical Cooperation Programme. They were confident that a more ASEAN-centric approach would now be taken in project planning and formulation and that these projects would conform to the main themes of the human development of the ASEAN region’s human resource potential and sustainable economic reform through the expansion and intensification of ASEAN economic cooperation.

48. The Foreign Ministers also endorsed the recommendation of the 24th ASEAN Standing Committee to establish an ASEAN Cooperation Unit (ACU) in the ASEAN Secretariat with the initial assistance of the UNDP. They expressed their confidence that there would now be a more professional and integrated approach to the formulation and implementation of projects. They called on the 25th ASEAN Standing Committee to work out the details of its establishment as soon as possible.

49. The Foreign Ministers, in recalling the decision of the 23rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting to establish a Panel of 5 Eminent Persons to look into the strengthening and the revamping of the mechanism and structure of ASEAN, in particular the ASEAN Secretariat, expressed appreciation to members of the Panel headed by H.E. Tan Sri Muhammad Ghazali Shafie, for their report. They also expressed appreciation to the UNDP for assisting in the study.

50. The Foreign Ministers noted that the Report had been extensively discussed in ASEAN. They agreed that while many of there commendations in the Report merit full support and could be implemented immediately, there were certain aspects which needed further study. In view of this, they agreed that a Working Group be established under the chairmanship of Dato’ Paduka Lim Jock Seng to study those aspects of the Report which still need further deliberation with a view to submitting its recommendations to the 4th ASEAN Summit.

51. The Foreign Ministers had an exchange of views on the future of ASEAN’s external relations. They mandated the same Working Group under the chairmanship of Dato’ Paduka Lim Jock Seng to study and make recommendations on the direction and form these relationships should take in future in the best interest of ASEAN.

52. The Foreign Ministers welcomed the opportunity provided by the informal meetings between the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and the Deputy Prime Minister of the USSR and the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China respectively to have discussions represent the beginning of a process of consultations between ASEAN and these two countries.

53. The Foreign Ministers noted that the proposed ASEAN Treaty of Economic Cooperation had been considered by the Standing Committee, Senior Officials Meeting and Senior Economic Officials and the Secretary-General. The Foreign Ministers, in considering the UNDP-assisted Study on ASEAN Economic Cooperation in the 1990’s, noted the Report of the Secretary-General that the study will be finalised by 1 0 November 1991. In view thereof, the 25th ASC was directed to consider the study for final submission to the 4th Summit in January 1992.


54. The Foreign Ministers welcome as a matter for serious consideration the initiative of His Excellency the Prime Minister of Thailand, which was supported by the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia, that ASEAN moves towards a Free Trade Area by the turn of the century and agreed that the Senior Officials of ASEAN undertake further study and discussion for submission to the forthcoming ASEAN Summit.


55. The Foreign Ministers noted that, after consultations, the ASEAN Heads of Government have agreed to hold the 4th ASEAN Summit from 27 to 28 January 1992 in Singapore. They were of the view that it was timely to convene another Summit to chart new directions to enhance intra-ASEAN cooperation. They directed the ASEAN Senior Officials and the ASEAN Directors-General to continue to work together with the Senior Economic Officials, in preparing for the 4th ASEAN Summit.


56. The Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction at the progress of ASEAN’s relations with its Dialogue Partners namely, Australia, Canada, the EC, Japan, New Zealand, the US and the UNDP. They continued to attach great importance to these relations which had helped to create a special partnership in collaborative endeavours between ASEAN and the Dialogue Partners. They noted the new trend in ASEAN’s dialogue relations from that of a donor-recipient to one of a mature and balanced relationship. They called for a further strengthening of this partnership for their mutual benefit.

57. The Foreign Ministers also expressed their appreciation for all the assistance rendered by the Dialogue Partners, in particular in the implementation of various projects. They also welcomed the flexibility shown by the Dialogue Partners in responding to ASEAN’s changing priorities and in broadening and seeking new areas of cooperation. In this regard, they agreed that future activities should focus on human resource development, science and technology, trade, industry, investment and environment. They also noted that the various consultative mechanisms which existed within the framework of these relations had proven particularly useful in raising issues such as market access, trade disputes and in the promotion of joint ventures and called for their continued use.

58. The Foreign ministers were also pleased to note that the participation of the private sector in the dialogue process was accepted by nearly all the Dialogue Partners and that such participation had proven beneficial to all sides. They expressed the hope that the ASEAN private sector, on its part, would take full advantage of the opportunities now being offered and play its assigned role as the engine of growth in ASEAN.

59. The Ministers noted with concern the increasing tendencies to link the issues of environmental protection and human rights to development and commercial cooperation. They stressed that these issues should not be used as conditionality for aid and development financing.


60. Taking into account the very close economic cooperation existing between ASEAN countries and the Republic of Korea, the Foreign Ministers adopted the recommendation of the 24th ASEAN Standing Committee that the Republic of Korea be granted full dialogue status. The Foreign Ministers also agreed that consequent upon this decision, the Republic of Korea be invited to participate at the forthcoming Post Ministerial Conference and at future Conferences as a Dialogue Partner.


61. The Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction with the results of the 2nd APEC Ministerial Meeting in Singapore, 29-31 July 1990. They reiterated that ASEAN’s participation in the APEC process will continue to be governed by the principles they had agreed to at their last AMM held in Jakarta in July 1990. They also agreed that the issues concerning the Uruguay Round and trade liberalization measures remain the priority issues for them. They were of the view that there should be no proliferation of work projects and agreed that the on-going projects should not exceed 10 in number at any one time so as not to dissipate the scarce resources available to them. They also affirmed that in the implementation of these projects, due account had to be taken of the different level of development of the countries and that the developing countries of the region had to be given special treatment. They also noted that consultations were proceeding in finding appropriate modalities in bringing the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong into the APEC process and expressed the hope that this matter could be resolved soon.


62. The Foreign Ministers considered the Summary Records of the first meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on the East Asia Economic Group (EAEG) which was held in Kuala Lumpur from July 4-5, 1991 and expressed satisfaction on the progress made in further studying the concept of the EAEG. They agreed that there was the need to further examine and advance the proposal. In this regard, they decided that further meetings were necessary and that the second meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on the EAEG take place in Singapore and that the report of the meeting be submitted to the Foreign Ministers and to the ASEAN Economic Ministers when they meet in Kuala Lumpur from October 7-8, 1991.


63. The Foreign Ministers agreed that the 25th AMM would be held in the Philippines in June/July 1992.

64. The delegations of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand expressed their sincere and deep appreciation to the Government and people of Malaysia for the warm and generous hospitality and excellent facilities and arrangements made for the Meeting.

65. The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN friendship and solidarity.