1. The Eighteenth U.S.-ASEAN Dialogue was held on 28 June 2005 in Washington. Delegates from the governments of the ten ASEAN Member Countries, the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the United States attended the Meeting.
2. In his welcoming remarks, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick thanked the delegations for their participation and noted that the ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue offers all parties an important chance to learn about each others’ positions on a variety of issues. Mr. Zoellick stated the importance that the United States puts on its relationships with Southeast Asian states and noted that ASEAN plays a key role both regionally and globally. He expressed concern regarding the situation in a member country of ASEAN. Drawing on his recent trip to Southeast Asia, the Deputy Secretary outlined the key strategic issues that shape ASEAN-U.S. relations. These include our ongoing commitment to the reconstruction of tsunami devastated areas, our significant and growing trade relationships, our cooperation in fighting terrorism and ensuring the security of critical waterways, our shared commitment to halting the proliferation of WMD-related technology, and our joint efforts to prevent the spread of diseases like avian influenza.
3. In his opening remarks, Mr. Kitti Wasinondh, Director-General, ASEAN-Thailand, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and Co-Chair of the Dialogue, highlighted the importance of further enhancing the ASEAN-United States relations which have developed over 28 years and of close engagement between ASEAN and the United States. which remains a key foundation for regional peace, security and prosperity. The idea of developing a strategic partnership between ASEAN and the United States, with a framework document and plan of action, was proposed.
4. Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Co-Chair of the Dialogue, remarked on the long history of Dialogue relations between ASEAN and the United States, and noted the growing links between our people, businesses, civil society organizations and national and local governments.
5. ASEAN and the United States exchanged views on global and regional issues. The Meeting welcomed progress in the development of the ASEAN Community following the adoption of the ASEAN Security Community Plan of Action, the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Integration of the Priority Sectors, the ASEAN Socio-cultural Community Plan of Action and the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) at the 10th ASEAN Summit in Vientiane. The Meeting welcomed ASEAN’s efforts to develop an ASEAN Charter that would provide a framework for ASEAN in progressing towards a Community and beyond.
6. The Meeting discussed the forthcoming first Meeting of the East Asian Summit that will take place in Kuala Lumpur in December 2005, and agreed that the future development of cooperation among countries in the region should be open, transparent and inclusive.
7. The Meeting discussed preparations for the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Vientiane 29 July 2005, and affirmed that the ARF should remain the primary forum for enhancing political and security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. The Meeting supported ASEAN’s role in the driver’s seat in advancing cooperation within the ARF to ensure security in the Asia Pacific region. The Meeting reiterated the importance of strengthening the ARF and the U.S. agreed to continue its support for the ARF Unit at the ASEAN Secretariat, including the further development of the ARFNet and training for ARF Unit staff. The Meeting welcomed U.S. co-chairing the ARF Intersessional Group with the Philippines and hosting a meeting in Honolulu 17-19 October 2005.
8. ASEAN emphasized the importance of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) as a code of conduct governing relations in the region for the promotion of peace and stability in the region. The Meeting noted that Papua New Guinea, China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Russia and the Republic of Korea have already acceded to the TAC and that New Zealand and Australia are positively considering accession to the TAC. In this connection, the ASEAN side stated that it would welcome the United States acceding to the TAC.
9. The Meeting considered the UN High-Level Plenary Meeting to be of historic significance and stressed that its outcome should provide proper balance on all questions, in particular the balance among questions relating to development and social advancement, peace and security, and rule of law and human rights. The Meeting emphasized that any new measures concerning the United Nations and its reform should be decided by Member States through an inter-governmental process. The Meeting stressed the importance of United Nations reform that is comprehensive and addresses a wide range of issues including development, in particular people-centered development, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and HIV/AIDS, as well as institutional changes in the UN. The Meeting emphasized that effective UN reform would help strengthen multilateralism and promote international peace, security and prosperity.
10. The Meeting recognized that the issue of the Korean Peninsula is vital to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole and underscored the importance of a peaceful, comprehensive solution to the issue by diplomatic means. The Meeting expressed a sense of urgency that the Six-Party talks should be held at an early date to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The Meeting welcomed the recent resumption of the inter-Korean dialogue and expressed the hope that the dialogue would continue and be conducive to the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and to the achievement of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
11. The Meeting discussed latest developments in the Middle East including the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and the situation in Iraq. The Meeting noted a number of developments conducive to the implementation of the Peace Process particularly, the outcome of the Sharm-El Sheikh Summit which took place earlier this year; the joint cease fire announcement between Palestine and Israel; and the planned withdrawal of troops from settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Meeting hoped that both sides would address their major differences in helping to achieve a lasting settlement as outlined in the Road Map which envisions a region where the two States, Israel and Palestine, live side-by-side within secure and recognized borders. The Meeting welcomed the progress of the Iraqi political process and noted with concern the prevailing acts of terrorism in the country.
12. The Meeting exchanged views on a broad range of transnational issues. The Meeting welcomed the progress in implementing the ASEAN-US Work Plan on Counter-Terrorism, which complements the ASEAN’s Work Program to Implement the ASEAN Plan of Action to Combat Transnational Crime. The US supported the ongoing efforts of ASEAN Member Countries to prevent, suppress and eradicate acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed wherever, whenever and by whomsoever and to combat transnational crime. ASEAN welcomed planned projects, including support for the ASEAN Secretariat, efforts on combating terrorism and transnational crime, and seminars or workshops on administering rewards programs, and on suppressing illicit cash couriers and bulk cash transfers.
13. The Meeting also welcomed the cooperation on maritime security in the past year, including several workshops in the context of the ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue and the ARF co-hosted by the U.S. with Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. The U.S. expressed its willingness to provide continued support to ASEAN to enhance their efforts to promote maritime security, including plans to conduct confidence building measures under the framework of the ARF.
14. The Meeting concurred that other transnational issues including organized crime, arms smuggling, and human trafficking are of great concern and that closer partnership and mutual support are essential in tackling these issues. The Meeting reviewed ongoing cooperation programs in these areas and highlighted the importance of providing technical support for ASEAN to help build their capacities to address these issues effectively.
15. The Meeting underscored the need for enhanced international cooperation to solve the problem of illicit drugs, which continues to pose a threat to human security. The Meeting agreed to enhance cooperation between the two sides, taking into account ASEAN’s goal to make the region free from illicit drugs by 2015.
16. The Meeting emphasized the importance of continued cooperation to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria under the ASEAN Cooperation Plan. The Meeting reviewed ASEAN-USAID cooperation to fight HIV/AIDS through the Operational framework for the ASEAN Work Programme on HIV/AIDS during 2005-2008, and commended the efforts of the US to support ASEAN in its fight to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS. The Meeting agreed to cooperate closely to prevent outbreaks of emerging and resurging diseases.
17. The Meeting reaffirmed the commitment of ASEAN and the US to the protection of the environment while pursuing economic development, and reviewed ASEAN-US environmental cooperation. The Meeting welcomed U.S. support for the Framework for Environmentally Sustainable Cities in ASEAN and improving enforcement of wildlife trafficking laws. ASEAN and the U.S. discussed the planned ASEAN Ministerial meeting on the environment, and welcomed planned cooperation on environment issues.
18. The Meeting discussed cooperation to improve disaster management, and expressed satisfaction with the effective support provided by countries in the region and the U.S. in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami of 26 December 2004. The Meeting agreed to continue programmes for technical assistance in disaster management and the development of regional Tsunami early warning arrangements and consider developing cooperation programmes on regional standby arrangements for disaster relief and emergency response.
19. The Meeting was encouraged by the progress in implementing an ASEAN Economic Community as a single market and production base with free flow of goods, services, investment and skilled labor as well as freer flow of capital by 2020. The Meeting also welcomed ASEAN’s agreement to accelerate the integration of eleven priority sectors and reviewed progress, which should provide opportunities for the expansion of trade and investment between ASEAN and the US.
20. The Meeting highlighted the continued vibrancy in the ASEAN-US trade and investment relationship. Two–way merchandise trade reached $136 billion in 2004, and U.S. investment in the region has topped $88 billion. The Meeting welcomed the progress on the Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI) as a signal of the importance that the US places on enhancing trade ties with ASEAN and looked forward to the next phase in this cooperation. The Meeting acknowledged that the ultimate goal of the EAI is to create a network of bilateral FTAs that will link ASEAN and the US.
21. The Meeting recognized the ongoing cooperation on trade issues including IPR, trade facilitation and standards and underscored ASEAN and US resolve to make further progress on the ASEAN-US trade and investment work program. ASEAN expressed the hope that both sides would work closely for the conclusion of an ASEAN–US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.
22. The Meeting expressed concern with the situation of the volatility of oil prices and discussed means to advance cooperation in the field of energy. In this connection, the Meeting welcomed the US willingness to consider further consultations on sharing experiences with ASEAN on alternative sources of energy.
23. The Meeting discussed APEC’s integral role in promoting prosperity and fostering constructive economic cooperation in the region and reviewed preparations for the APEC Leaders Meeting in Busan, Korea in November. The Meeting agreed to support implementation of APEC’s commitment to achieve progress in the Doha Development Round, continue the fight against corruption and improve human security to implement APEC Leaders’ Declarations.
24. The Meeting discussed the status of the Doha Round of negotiations in the WTO, special and differential treatment, and the need to re-energize multilateral negotiations towards the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda. The Meeting agreed on the necessity of focusing on the core topics of agriculture, industrial goods (NAMA), and services, development issues and trade facilitation in order to achieve substantial progress. The Meeting reiterated the importance of opening markets and strengthening the rules based system of the WTO. The Meeting strongly supported the accession of Laos and Viet Nam to the WTO.
25. The United States briefed ASEAN on preparations for the G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, which included efforts to jointly tackle the energy crisis.
26. The Meeting reviewed existing ASEAN–U.S. development cooperation programs. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the development of the ASEAN Cooperation Plan (ACP) and supported additional activities under this program. They noted in particular the contribution of the U.S. training and technical assistance facility for ASEAN, which has been providing expeditious support in areas requested by ASEAN, including on the implementation of important activities in the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) . The establishment of the USAID Regional Development Mission in Bangkok, the assignment of an ASEAN Liaison Officer to the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, and the presence of a U.S. Trade Specialist at the ASEAN Secretariat have contributed to advancing ASEAN–U.S. development cooperation. Both sides looked forward to building on this base for future cooperation.
27. The Meeting had a very useful discussion of the future direction of ASEAN – U.S. Dialogue relations. The Meeting expressed a mutual resolve to strengthen ASEAN-U.S. relations. It discussed ways and means to further enhance the dialogue relations including developing a strategic partnership covering a broad range of issues of mutual interest. The Meeting took note of the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue partnership and discussed possible ways to commemorate this milestone. The ASEAN side urged more visits by U.S. cabinet officials from functional agencies such as Treasury, Education and Environment. The Meeting agreed to look for opportunities to enhance socio-cultural relations and people-to-people contacts. The Meeting also discussed the ASEAN proposal for a possible ASEAN-U.S. Summit in 2007.
28. The Meeting welcomed the interaction with representatives of the U.S. private sector at the ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue during which these representatives put forward their recommendations on how ASEAN and the US can better promote trade and investment in the region. Their views are valuable in helping define the direction of future ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue relations.
29. The Meeting agreed to hold the next ASEAN-US Dialogue in Thailand in 2006.
30. The Meeting was held in the spirit of cooperation and cordiality.