1. We, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU) met in Vientiane on 11 -12 December 2000 for the 13th ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting under the co-chairmanship of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and France, acting as Presidency of the Council of EU. The Kingdom of Cambodia, Lao PDR and the Union of Myanmar participated for the first time at the Ministerial Meeting. The lists of Heads of delegation of the ASEAN and EU appear as ANNEXES 1 and 2 respectively. [The Annexes are not attached to this Declaration.] We held an intensive and constructive exchange of views on strengthening ASEAN-EU relations, and on wide-ranging issues encompassing international and regional political, security and economic issues. The Meeting was held in the ASEAN-EU spirit of cordiality, mutual understanding and confidence.
2. We also welcomed the accession of the Kingdom of Cambodia and Lao PDR to the Cooperation Agreement between Member Countries of ASEAN and the European Community of 1980, which would further intensify cooperation between the member countries of ASEAN and the EU.
ASEAN-EU Relations-Looking Ahead
3. Recalling the understanding reached at AEMM at Karlsruhe in 1994 and in Singapore in 1997, we reiterated that ASEAN is a cornerstone of EU’s cooperation and dialogue with Asia and remain convinced that the ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting has a key role to play in formulating policies and coordinating future directions of the cooperation between ASEAN and EU. We reiterated that we would continue our political dialogue in the spirit of openness and partnership, and agreed to enhance and deepen the existing cooperation to the mutual benefit of ASEAN and EU and all their peoples. We also agreed on the need to strengthen our relations on a bilateral basis, seeing this as a way to reinforce the dialogue between EU and ASEAN as a whole.
4. We noted that ASEAN and EU shared deep historical, economic, scientific and educational links. Based on this, ASEAN and EU have built a broad-based partnership which encompasses economic and business links, development cooperation, political and security dialogue as well as people-to-people interaction. As we looked to the future, we agreed that there was a need to strengthen and broaden the dialogue.
Political and Security Issues
5. ASEAN and EU play important roles in the security and stability of their respective regions as well as at the global level. In this context, we discussed political and security developments in South East Asia, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. We exchanged views on the Middle East.
6. The EU briefed ASEAN on the important steps taken by the European Council in Nice regarding, inter alia, the European Security and Defence Policy, EU enlargement and the Inter-Governmental Conference preparing for the enlargement. We welcomed the EU enlargement process as a factor that could contribute to and strengthen the ASEAN-EU partnership.
7. ASEAN informed EU of developments within ASEAN, in particular the implementation of the Ha Noi Plan of Action (HPA), the purpose and procedure on constituting the ASEAN Troika; progress made on strengthening the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) as an instrument of peace in Southeast Asia, progress regarding the implementation of the Treaty of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ), the progress made and the commitment shown by the parties concerned to conclude negotiations and adopt a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea as soon as possible, and the outcome of the Fourth ASEAN Informal Summit held in November 2000 in Singapore.
8. We agreed to enhance our cooperation in regional security more generally, notably through the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which we recognised as an important forum for dialogue on peace and security issues in the Asia-Pacific region. We underlined the importance of the confidence building measures (CBMs) which have been undertaken as the primary focus in the strengthening of the ARF process, and encouraged further efforts to intensify the CBMs as well as to finalise the concept and the principles of preventive diplomacy. EU indicated its readiness to share its experience with ASEAN in those fields.
9. We committed ourselves to promote and protect all human rights, including the right to development, and fundamental freedoms, bearing in mind their universal, indivisible and interdependent character as expressed at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna.
10. We had a frank discussion of developments in Myanmar, including the decision taken by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office on 16 November 2000. We expressed full support for the efforts made by Mr. Razali Ismail, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, and hoped they would contribute to a positive development in the process of national reconciliation in Myanmar, including an early dialogue between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the NLD and other relevant parties.
11. We registered our strong support for a united, democratic and prosperous Indonesia. We welcomed Indonesia’s efforts in the framework of “Partnership for Good Governance”. We also reiterated our support for the stability, territorial integrity and national unity of Indonesia and its efforts to solve its internal conflicts through dialogue and reconciliation.
12. We are determined to see East Timor successfully complete the smooth transition to independence and to take its rightful place in the region, and reaffirmed our support for the full implementation of UNSC res. 1272 and for UNTAET which plays a key role in the reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction process. We supported joint efforts by the international community and Indonesia for an early resolution of the situation concerning the East Timorese refugees in East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia, in line with UNSC res. 1319.
13. We welcomed the direct dialogue established between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the positive steps which this has produced. We supported the historic Summit between their leaders in Pyongyang in June 2000. We encouraged their endeavours towards ensuring peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and welcomed the steps already taken in implementing the South-North Declaration including humanitarian issues, economic cooperation and dialogue on military issues and CBMs. We looked forward to further progress in these areas and underlined the need for DPRK to be mindful of concerns of the international community with regard to the nuclear and ballistic non-proliferation. We welcomed the DPRK’s participation at the 7th ARF in Bangkok and encouraged it to make use of the Forum to advance the dialogue on peace and security in the Korean Peninsula.
14. We discussed the developments in the Balkans and welcomed the democratic change in Croatia and in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which has paved the way for reconciliation and cooperation between the countries of the region and offered a historic opportunity to include the region in the European mainstream. We called on all concerned to reject violence and extremism and to continue to support efforts to consolidate peace and stability.
15. We discussed the situation in the Middle East. We expressed our deep concerns about the recent violence, in particular the excessive use of force and suffering there, and urged all parties concerned to resume the process of negotiations.
16. We had a wide ranging discussions and exchange of views on the economic situation in the two regions. We welcomed the successful launch of the Euro in 1999, as well as the economic recovery that had taken place in ASEAN. We agreed on the importance of continued economic and financial reforms at the national level, and of global cooperation in the reform of the international financial architecture, for sustainable economic recovery and the prevention of a recurrence of the crisis. We recognised the economic dynamism of the two regional groupings and agreed that this reinforced the rationale for enhanced cooperation in all fields.
17. We recalled the progress ASEAN had made in advancing regional economic integration, notably at the Fourth ASEAN Informal Summit in Singapore, November 2000. We noted ASEAN’s continued strong commitment in accelerating regional economic integration through free trade in goods and services, investment, industrial cooperation and in the Information and Communication Technology sector. We welcomed ASEAN’s concerted efforts in integrating the new member countries, including through the Mekong Basin Development Cooperation, West-East Corridor, Human Resources development and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration.
18. We underlined the important role of the WTO in promoting global economic growth, prosperity and development. We supported the launch at the earliest opportunity of a new round of WTO trade negotiations and agreed on the need for a broad and balanced agenda reflecting the interests of all WTO members, particularly developing countries. We also agreed on the importance of accelerating the process of accession to the WTO for the Kingdom of Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam.
19. We expressed our support for continued cooperation to further reduce non-tariff barriers so as to facilitate trade flows between the two regions. We also noted that EU provides duty-free access to the EU market for most products from 48 least-developed countries, including the Kingdom of Cambodia and Lao PDR, and that it is considering ways of extending this benefit.
20. We noted that oil price volatility poses risks for the world economy, especially for economies that are heavily dependent on the conditions of international oil market. We welcomed the steps already taken this year by oil-producing countries to increase production. We called for appropriate measures to promote long-term oil price stability, with the objective of promoting sustainable growth.
The Future of ASEAN-EU Relations.
21. We reiterated our commitment to strengthening our cooperative efforts towards poverty alleviation, giving particular priority to areas such as human resource development, health and environmental protection and the sustainable use of natural resources, science and technology and information technology, rural and urban development, narcotics control, energy, education and culture. We emphasised the importance of popular participation, the enhance role of women and of all sectors of society for effective efforts in these areas. In this regard, we welcomed the role of the ASEAN-EC Management Centre in Brunei Darussalam in promoting understanding between the two regions, particularly within the framework of ASEAN-EU cooperation.
22. We reviewed the progress of the ASEAN-EU economic dialogue and cooperation. We recognised the need to broaden the scope of the ongoing dialogue to address the entire range of economic issues covered in the Work Programme adopted at the EC-ASEAN Joint Cooperation Committee in Bangkok in May 1999. In this context, we stressed the need to expedite the implementation of the Work Programme, particularly on IPR and standards, quality and conformity assessment, by adopting a practical approach for completion of the activities. We agreed that the ASEAN-EC Informal Coordinating Meeting be held on a regular basis to ensure the swift and smooth implementation of the Work Programme. We also agreed that economic cooperation should focus on actions to support regional integration and to promote and facilitate ASEAN-EU dialogue in the various sectors identified under the Work Programme, including the possibility of negotiating protocols, where appropriate.
23. We welcomed steps taken towards closer cooperation in the trade area since the last JCC meeting in Bangkok, May 1999, noting that a regular dialogue between ASEAN and EC senior officials on market access and multilateral trade issues had begun this year. We also welcomed the meeting between ASEAN Economic Ministers and the EU Trade Commissioner held on 6 October 2000 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where it was agreed that the two regions would work towards closer cooperation. We expressed the hope that this dialogue would facilitate EU-ASEAN trade and investment flows. We remain committed to strengthening trade flows between our regions through multilateral and bilateral means, and reiterate our commitment to further improvements in market access and to the pursuit of progressive liberalisation of our markets.
24. We noted that both ASEAN and EU are faced with important internal challenges. For EU, these challenges include enlargement, improvement in its decision-making process, the development of a European security and defence policy and the completion of economic and monetary union (EMU), while ASEAN is addressing the challenges in continuing economic reforms, sustaining economic recovery and the integration of its new member countries. We agreed that, in addressing these challenges, ASEAN and the EU have to continue to look forward and outwards. It is important that the two regions continue to engage each other and view these challenges as providing opportunities for the two sides to benefit from each other’s experience.
25. Globalisation and the sectors of the new economy such as information technology present enormous opportunities for both ASEAN and EU. We agreed that ASEAN and EU could work together to take advantage of these opportunities through the e-ASEAN-e-Europe linkage. Both sides agreed to consider close cooperation in areas such as developing a compatible e-commerce legal framework and narrowing the digital divide.
26. We took note of the decision of the Fourth ASEAN Informal Summit concerning the candidacy for participation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Lao PDR and the Union of Myanmar in ASEM.
27. With a view to enhancing our relations, we requested our senior officials to identify possible areas of cooperation for a first experts group meeting to share our experiences in meeting the challenges of globalisation, including its political, social, economic and cultural aspects.
28. The Fourteenth ASEAN-EU Ministerial Meeting will be held in Europe.