Excellencies Heads of Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me at the outset. on behalf of my Delegation, to express our warm congratulations to Your Excellency Mr. Barnharn Silpa-Archa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, on your election as Chairman of the Fifth ASEAN Summit. I am confident that under Your Excellency’s wise chairmanship, we will be able to accomplish what we have set out to do in this Summit.
I should also like to take this opportunity to convey the cordial greetings of the Government and people of the Republic of Indonesia to the Government and people of the Kingdom of Thailand, as well as to express my sincere appreciation, and that of the Indonesian Delegation, for the gracious welcome and hospitality accorded to us and for the excellent arrangements for this Summit.
I am also particularly pleased to extend a special welcome to His Excellency Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet and the Delegation of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam who are attending this Summit for the first time as a full member of ASEAN. The admission of Vietnam as a full member of ASEAN this year constitutes an important step towards that day when an ASEAN embracing all the ten Southeast Asian countries is finally realized. We are indeed coming close to that day — for Laos and Cambodia have become observers of ASEAN, while Myanmar has acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. We should, however, hasten the realization of that vision of all Southeast Asia cooperating in harmony, stability and shared prosperity within the ASEAN fold. By extending support and assistance to Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar so that they will be able to join our Association as full members within the next few years, we ensure their smooth integration into the various activities and processes of ASEAN. We will, in turn, benefit early on from the fresh insights and perspectives that they are expected to bring into the work of our Association. Such a propitious eventuality will redound to the intensification of economic cooperation in this region and boost our collective as well as individual national resilience.
Thus strengthened, we can carry forward into the 21st century ASEAN’s agenda for cooperation in social and economic development as well as for a modus vivendi for regional peace and stability. We will then be in an excellent position to cope with the challenges posed by the current era of globalization and interdependence and to avail ourselves of the opportunities that may offer.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Since we held our Fourth Summit Meeting in Singapore three years ago, we have achieved substantial progress in our efforts to promote both intra- and extra-ASEAN cooperation in the political, economic, socio-cultural and functional cooperation fields.
One of the most significant developments in the political and security field during this period was the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in accordance with the Summit directives. Through this Forum we hope to be able to manage strategic change in the region so that a stable relationship among the major and regional powers will evolve gradually over the next decade. We have envisioned this Forum to develop in three stages, namely: the promotion and building of mutual confidence, the development of preventive diplomacy and the exploration of various approaches to conflict resolution. Although the ARF is still in its earliest stages of development, the regional and major powers have responded positively to it, participating actively and contributing to the success of its first two meetings. In cooperation with the other participants, let us therefore endeavor to maintain the momentum that the ARF has gained and develop it into an effective dialogue process for maintaining peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
At the same time let us continue to explore possibilities for cooperation in the South China Sea in order to foster a climate conducive to the early solution to the territorial and sovereignty disputes in the area in accordance with international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, and the precepts contained in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and the ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea of 1992.
One of the most important decisions of the Fourth ASEAN Summit in 1992 was on the expeditious establishment of a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality in Southeast Asia. It is heartening to note that after long and painstaking efforts, we have now been able to finalize the Treaty of Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone to be signed during this Summit. I am fully confident that this treaty constitutes a significant instrument for further enhancing peace and stability in the region. We look forward to all nuclear weapons states and other non-regional states supporting the Treaty by acceding to its protocol.
At the same time, we call on all nuclear weapon states to eliminate their stockpiles of nuclear weapons in accordance with their obligations under the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty and to conclude a credible and comprehensive test ban treaty as a vital requirement of world peace and security.
We are aware that the peace that we build in our region cannot be secure in the long run without peace and stability in the rest of the world. The reality of globalization and interdependence make it necessary for ASEAN to establish and maintain dialogue and working relationships with its counterpart organizations in other regions for the purpose of promoting mutually beneficial economic relationships as well as international peace and security. Indonesia therefore fully supports the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) which is scheduled to take place in Bangkok in March 1996. We strongly believe that the meeting will constitute an important step in the intensification of political and economic relations between the two regions.
In our efforts to promote international peace and security as well as economic cooperation, it is important that we explore ways and means of cooperating with the United Nations. With all its merits and shortcomings, this world body still plays a central and irreplaceable role in such global endeavours. On many occasions, including at the Eleventh NAM Summit in Cartagena and at the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the world organization in the New York recently, I emphasized that the world owes a debt of gratitude to the United Nations. It has managed to contain the hundreds of conflicts that have broken out in the past five decades and thus prevented a global conflagration. It has also been an effective catalyst for social and economic development in the developing world.
On the other hand, I have also emphasized that the new international order of greater peace, social justice and common prosperity cannot be attained if the United Nations remains as it is today. It has to be restructured, democratized and revitalized so that it will finally become the effective instrument of peace as it was envisioned to be by its founders. Particular attention should be given to the need for reform of the Security Council so that its membership would reflect more faithfully the prevailing balance among nations and at the same time its efficacy could be enhanced. We should also strive to enhance the capacity of the United Nations to undertake endeavours in peace-making, peace-keeping, peace-building and preventive diplomacy. It is also important that we work for the enhancement of its capacity to promote social and economic development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Although our region is considered to be among the most economically dynamic in the world today, we cannot afford to be complacent in a world economy characterized by a surge of globalization and a general shift of national economies to the market system. The world economy is just beginning to recover from a prolonged recession which, together with globalization, has impacted adversely on the developing countries, in many cases bringing about stagnation and acute decline in living standards. Nevertheles, countries can find basis for hope in the establishment of the World Trade Organization, in recent UN resolutions endorsing and promoting North-South dialogue, and in the growing acceptance of the concept of partnership in international economic relations.
Considering that economic growth and development are directly influenced by the international trade situation, we have committed ourselves to market liberalization and the fostering of an open multilateral trading system. We have opened up our economies and instituted reforms in our trade regimes in order to integrate with the world economy. Indeed, the most significant progress has been achieved in the area of trade with the implementation of the CEPT Scheme for AFTA which entails not only the reduction of tariffs, elimination of quantitative restrictions, and other non-tariff barriers but also trade facilitation measures such as harmonization of tariff nomenclatures, customs valuations and procedures. In this regard, Indonesia welcomes the decision to accelerate further the time frame for the completion of the CEPT Scheme for AFTA from the year 2008 to the year 2003. This decision has further underlined our resolve to enhance ASEAN economic cooperation and strengthen our international competitiveness.
Furthermore, we welcome ASEAN’s efforts to liberalize and enhance intra-ASEAN cooperation in the areas of trade, services, intellectual property protection, industry and investment. This would further increase the competitiveness of firms and economic units in the region. Indonesia also supports sub-regional arrangements which have a pivotal role in accelerating economic growth and welcomes all efforts to bring these groupings into the mainstream of ASEAN cooperation.
The dynamics of a good number of recently established regional economic groups and arrangements have become a dominant feature of the emerging international economic system. We need to be assured that these regional groups and arrangements contribute to world trade liberalization instead of fragmenting the world trading system. In line with ASEAN’s advocacy for open regionalism, we should also ensure that the World Trade Organization is able to establish a trading system that is truly open, transparent, multilateral and beneficial to all countries so that it would be able to stimulate global economic growth and prosperity.
ASEAN is contributing significantly to the achievement of such a system through our active participation in the APEC process. The results of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Osaka last month has underlined the determination of the APEC economies to achieve the objectives laid down by the Bogor Declaration and to be faithful to their Uruguay Round commitments.
I am satisfied that the Action Agenda adopted by the APEC Leaders in Osaka is based on the three pillars of APEC activities as stipulated in the Bogor Declaration, namely: trade and investment liberalization, trade and investment facilitation and economic and technical cooperation. These three pillars are of equal importance and complement each other.
Facilitation will support the liberalization of trade and investment while economic and technical cooperation will ensure that the fruits of liberalization and facilitation will be equitably reaped by all. The Action Agenda should therefore be regarded as the framework within which we pursue the Action Programmes for economic and technical cooperation and the Action Plan for liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I should like to draw your attention to the progress that ASEAN has achieved in the field of functional cooperation. For our activities in functional cooperation, together with our external relations and the various internal processes of ASEAN, have greatly contributed to our Association’s progress and resilience in the economic as well as in the political field.
Since our Fourth Summit in Singapore in 1992, we have achieved considerable progress in our cooperation in the fields of science and technology, environment, culture and information, social development, narcotics and drug abuse control, as well as in civil service matters. We have also continued to promote friendship and mutual understanding among ASEAN communities through activities that involve the youth, women and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Our functional cooperation efforts have indeed contributed not only to the promotion of an awareness of ASEAN among our people but also to ASEAN solidarity and regional identity. They have also greatly contributed to the growth of a caring, cohesive and technologically advanced ASEAN community that can confidently face the challenges of the 21st century.
With the adoption of the various Plans of Action for functional cooperation by the Ministers concerned, our activities in functional cooperation have acquired a sharper focus and their priorities and objectives have been clarified. We have synchronized and systemized these activities so that they now have a synergistic relationship and are sustainable in character and long term in perspective.
Our Functional Cooperation is now more than just as a way of fostering ASEAN unity and solidarity. It is now a way of integrating our political and economic goals with our social, cultural and environmental objectives. I, therefore, believe that it is timely and appropriate for us to elevate functional cooperation to the same level as that of political and economic cooperation.
By doing so we manifest once again that we do not pursue economic growth for the sake of mere growth.We have always seen to it that our development policies are people-centered, people-oriented. This means that we endeavour to battle poverty at its very roots and that the measure of our success is the quality of life that we are able to offer to our peoples.
For this reason also, human resources development remains an important aspect of the work of ASEAN and we welcome the continued interest and assistance of our Dialogue Partners in our endeavours to enhance the technological skills of our manpower. We should, therefore, continue to talk with our Dialogue Partners to reconcile our divergent interests on the basis of shared values and objectives in the spirit of partnership.
In accordance with a decision of the Fourth Summit, we have proceeded to enlarge our cooperation and relations with interested countries that are non-Dialogue Partners and other international organizations. Thus we have had exploratory contacts with the Executive Heads of Regional Organizations in the Asia-Pacific and the Economic Cooperation Organization while furthering our relations with the South Pacific Forum. Other groups of countries that have shown interest in building relations with ASEAN include SAARC, SADC and the Rio Group.
We may therefore expect a substantial expansion of the activities, commitments and involvement of our Association in the next several years. Anticipating this, we have made adjustments in the structure and the administrative mechanism of our Association. Our Secretary-General has taken steps to ensure that the ASEAN Secretariat will be equal to the expanded demand for its support and services in the face of swift developments on the regional and global scene.
While this era of globalization and interdependence has offered a window of opportunity for the developing world to integrate itself as a full partner in a more equitable international economic order, it also poses daunting challenges that must be addressed along with the already many external and internal challenges to ASEAN’s effectiveness and competitiveness.
I have no doubt that ASEAN will prove equal to the challenges and that it will be able to seize the opportunities as they come. Because we are determined to maintain the resilience, the solidarity that is the source of our strength and the will to overcome our problems.
If ASEAN as it is today has been able to manage these challenges and has fairly prospered in a highly competitive trading environment, then ASEAN as it will become a few years from now embracing all the countries of Southeast Asia and further developed organizationally should be fully capable not only of solving its problems and thriving amid competition but also of contributing in large measure to the solution of the global problems that seem so persistent today.
May the Almighty bless our efforts to realize this vision which we all share.