We, the Ministers Responsible for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) authorities of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (hereinafter referred to as “ASEAN”) and the People’s Republic of China gathered in China in May, 2005 for an in-depth exchange of views on ICT development and cooperation in this region, and have reached the following consensus:
- 1.We agree that ICT plays a vital role in the national economic and social development of a country. With huge population and tremendous economic potential, ASEAN and China increasingly gain in importance in Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. In the meantime, countries in the region still face challenges of speeding up economic development, bridging digital divide and dealing with natural disasters. To address these challenges, it is indispensable to build and improve ICT infrastructure and facilitate extensive application of ICT means. Accelerating ICT development and building an information society are the common tasks facing both ASEAN and China
- 2.We note with satisfaction that, since the fifth ASEAN – China Leaders Meeting in November, 2001 which identified ICT as one of the five priority areas of cooperation between ASEAN and China and, especially upon the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and People’s Republic of China on Cooperation in Information and Communications Technology in October, 2003, with joint efforts of relevant parties, positive headways have been made on cooperation in ICT field between ASEAN and China.
The past few years witnessed the signing of documents on bilateral exchanges and cooperation between the ICT authorities of Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Ministry of Information Industry of China and as well as the conduct of three ASEAN-China ICT Seminars in China, Indonesia and Thailand respectively.
Technological Cooperation and Product Trade
ASEAN and China share the complementary interests in the technical cooperation and product trade. The mutually beneficial cooperation and ever-deepening technical exchanges between the two sides have brought about the rapid growth of ICT products trade volume and the enlargement of trade scope.
Human Resources Development
ASEAN-China ICT Serial Workshops and Greater-Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Training Program for High-level Telecom Officials progress smoothly with subjects covering technology, management, regulation and information security.
Memorandum of Understanding on the Joint Cooperation in Pushing Forward the Construction on the Information Superhighway in the Greater Mekong Sub-region was signed in November 2004 by the ICT authorities of the six GMS countries, which is currently in the implementation phase.
- 3.We are satisfied with the rapidly developing and ever-deepening relations featuring mutual benefits and cooperation in the ICT field. It has been agreed that our cooperation in this area is extensive, substantive and fruitful. Both sides acknowledged the importance of such cooperation, as it not only promotes the prosperity and development of the ICT industry of each country, but makes great contribution to the regional economic and social development as well.
- 4.We have been implementing projects and undertaking activities in support of initiatives of ASEAN Leaders envisaged in e-ASEAN Framework Agreement signed by the leaders of ASEAN countries in November 2000 in Singapore; Ministerial Understanding on ASEAN Cooperation in Telecommunications and Information Technology forged in July 2001 in Malaysia; the Manila Declaration 2002 signed by ASEAN Ministers in August 2002 in the Philippines; the Singapore Action Agenda 2003 in September 2003 in Singapore; the Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity between ASEAN and China established in 2003 and the Action Plan for Implementing the Joint Declaration of Strategic Partnership adopted at ASEAN – China Leaders Meeting in 2004; as well as the Vientiane Action Program adopted at ASEAN Leaders Meeting in 2004, all of which have attached great importance to the ICT development and cooperation in this region. In response to the above initiatives of Leaders, we agree to seek new ways and contents of cooperation in the principles of equality, friendship and mutual benefits, taking into consideration of our respective characteristics and needs, and based on the current cooperation projects. We will also endeavor to deepen and expand the cooperation, which, we believe, will lay a solid foundation for the long-term development of ASEAN and China in the ICT field.
- 5.To this end, we agree that ASEAN and China establish an ICT cooperative partnership for common development, so as to further expand and deepen the existing exchanges and cooperation, enhance mutual understanding and cooperation level, promote common development and achieve a mutually beneficial and win-win result. It is stressed that ASEAN – China ICT Cooperative Partnership for Common Development is an all-round and future-oriented relationship. To carry the momentum of this cooperative relationship is the common task and obligation of both sides.
ASEAN and China, therefore, shall focus on cooperation in the following areas:
a. ICT Infrastructure Development
ICT infrastructure is the fundamental factor condition for building an information society, an important means to promote economic growth and improve people’s livelihood. Given the fact that ICT develops rather unevenly in this region, it is critical to push forward cooperation in this area. We should strengthen cooperation on ICT infrastructure construction, including fixed, mobile and satellite networks as well as Internet. Effective measures should be adopted to accelerate the implementation of GMS information superhighway, and discussion shall be made around the feasibility of building ASEAN-China information superhighway, in a bid to promote information flow among countries and the improvement of ICT development level in this region.
b. Universal Service
Bridging digital divide, promoting universal service and ICT development in rural and remote regions is an urgent task facing this region and a common challenge to all countries. We should strengthen exchanges and discussion, draw upon each other’s experience and practices in establishing compensation mechanism for universal service and narrowing the digital divide, jointly develop and promote applicable technology suitable for rural and remote areas in their ICT development.
c. Human Capacity Building
Human capacity building is the key factor for building an information society. We should facilitate and sustain the implementation of the initiative proposed by Chinese government of training 500 middle and high-level telecom managers and technicians for ASEAN countries within five years. We should further improve cooperation on developing ICT human resources, strengthen information and resources sharing among countries in this area, and promote participation of government, businesses and educational institutions, either through face-to-face discussions or e-learning.
d. Network and Information Security
Network and information security is an important component of the information society, and a precondition for fostering public confidence in using ICT. It has been strongly recognized that the network and information security in the region are faced with a severe challenge. We should strengthen communications and cooperation in the field of network and information security, and seek to establish an ASEAN – China Coordination Framework for Network and Information Security Emergency Responses.
e. Trade and Investment Facilitation
Trade and investment facilitation is an important condition for achieving common economic development for countries in the region. We should strengthen exchanges and cooperation among countries in areas of E-commerce, E-governance and promote mutual recognition arrangements for ICT expertise certification and telecom equipment certification, improve trade and investment environment of each country and promote the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (FTA) process.
f. Intergovernmental Dialogues and Exchanges
As the information and communications technologies and services advance in a big margin, countries are facing many new problems in their ICT development strategy and policy as well as market regulation, which requires more dialogues and exchanges at the governmental level. While taking into account the actual conditions and characteristics of each country’s economic and social development, ASEAN and China should foster exchanges of ICT development strategy and policy and explore effective market regulation model. We shall explore the establishment of suitable mechanism and deepen cooperation at various levels. We shall also strengthen consultation and coordination within relevant international organizations in an active and pragmatic manner.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, We have adopted this Beijing Declaration on ASEAN-China ICT Cooperative Partnership for Common Development.
May 12, 2005 in Beijing, People’s Republic of China.