- The Fifteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting was held in Singapore on 14-16 June 1982. The Meeting was formally opened by His Excellency Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore.
- The Meeting was attended by Ms Excellency Prof. Dr. Mochtar Kusumaatmadja, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia; His Excellency Tan Sri Haji Muhammad Ghazali Shafie, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia; His Excellency General Carlos P. Romulo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines; His Excellency S. Dhanabalan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore; His Excellency Air Chief Marshal Siddhi Savetsila, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand; and their respective delegations. His Excellency, Emmanuel Pelaez, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines also attended the Meeting.
- His Excellency Narciso G. Reyes, Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat was present at the Meeting.
- His Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, representative of the Sultan of Brunei, attended the sessions of the Minister Meeting as Observer.
- His Excellency James B. Gegeyo, Ambassador of Papua New Guinea to Indonesia attended the sessions of the Ministerial Meeting as Observer.
- The Meeting was chaired by His Excellency S. Dhanabalan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore. His Excellency Air Chief Marshal Siddhi Savetsila, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, was elected Vice-Chairman.
- The Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, said that ASEAN was an exception in the Third World. ASEAN countries have learned to manage their differences and to contain them. ASEAN had made progress in an Asian manner, not through rules and regulations, but through musyawarah and consensus. Most important, ASEAN countries have made a habit of working together and of consulting each other over common problems.
- The Prime Minister also said that intra-ASEAN economic cooperation was progressing at a steady pace and that ASEAN had made progress in non-economic areas. ASEAN’s dialogue partners have provided assistance in non-economic areas, in preference to giving better access for ASEAN exports to their markets. ASEAN has used such assistance for intra-ASEAN cooperation in the cultural, science and technology and social development fields.
- On global and regional security, the Prime Minister said that changes have affected ASEAN’s perception and policies, though not in their fundamentals. The present balance of relationships amongst US, USSR, and PRC is more fluid and uncertain than it as a year ago. The Prime Minister added that the increasing to-ing and fro-ing between Soviet and Chinese officials, and the settlement of China’s border disputes on the long Mongolian frontier, are not signs which can reassure Vietnam of unremitting Soviet support at any costs and for all time.
- The Prime Minister stated that ASEAN does not object to the Indochinese states coming together but the manner in which Cambodia was forcibly incorporated by Vietnam. It is in ASEAN’s interest to have the Indochinese states work together and cooperate with ASEAN. This would have precluded either a Soviet or a Chinese dominance over the region. The Prime Minister added that time will prove to Vietnam that ASEAN was not acting in collusion with any great power at the International Conference on Kampuchea which was convened in New York in July 1981. It will also show that, at that Conference, ASEAN helped to provide the basics for a fair and just political solution.
- The Prime Minister also said that ASEAN’s problems with the industrial countries may increase. To withstand external pressures and problems, ASEAN must stay together for greater collective strength. Subtle measures will be used to divide ASEAN to make protectionism less blatant., ASEAN will have to resist short-term benefits, offered individually, against the long-term losses which will result in weakened unity and bargaining strength.
Review of ASEAN
- The Foreign Ministers reviewed the progress of ASEAN and expressed satisfaction with its activities in all fields of cooperation. The Foreign Ministers observed that the favourable political climate in the ASEAN countries was the key factor which continued to economic growth and development.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the growing interest and the desire of other states, regional organizations and international community to have contacts with ASEAN. The Foreign Ministers agreed that in international relations ASEAN should pursue such activities that will promote mutually beneficial economic and political cooperation which will help the progress of the ASEAN countries and contribute to the maintenance of peace and prosperity in Southeast Asia.
Situation in Kampuchea
- The Foreign Ministers express their grave concern over the situation in Kampuchea. They stressed that the continued Vietnamese military occupation of Kampuchea constitutes a serious threat to peace and stability in the whole Southeast Asian region. They reaffirmed their strong conviction that the continued occupation of Kampuchea by Vietnam represents a serious violation of international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter.
- The Foreign Ministers deplored the intransigence of Vietnam, in refusing to withdraw its military forces from Kampuchea in defiance of international opinion as expressed in the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 34/22, 35/6 and 36/5, and the Declaration of the International Conference on Kampuchea, which have been overwhelmingly endorsed by the international community.
- The Foreign Minister reiterated their fill commitment to these United Nations Resolutions, which called for the immediate and total withdrawal of Vietnamese forces from Kampuchea. They reaffirmed that a comprehensive political settlement of the conflict in Kampuchea could only be achieved within the framework established by these Resolutions and on the basis of the principles laid down in the Declaration of the International Conference on Kampuchea, which, inter alia, reaffirmed the right of the Kampuchean people to self-determination and to elect a government of their own choice in free elections carried out under United Nations supervision without any intimidation or coercion.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation to the President of the International Conference on Kampuchea, His Excellency Mr. Willibald Pahr, Foreign Minister of Austria, for his interest and commitment and for the time and energy which he has devoted to implementing the objectives of the Conference Declaration and Resolution. The Foreign Ministers also noted with satisfaction that the Ad Hoc Committee of the International Conference on Kampuchea has commenced its work, and expressed their appreciation to its, Chairman, His Excellency Ambassador Masamba Sarre of Senegal for his dedication and able guidance of the work of the Committee. The Foreign Ministers urged all those concerned to extend their full cooperation to the President of the Conference and the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee.
- The Foreign Ministers appreciated the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General to implement the relevant United Nations General Assembly Resolutions. They also welcomed his decision to send his Special Representative on Humanitarian Affairs in Southeast Asia, Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed, recently to the ASEAN countries, Vietnam, Laos, China and Japan, to seek the views of these countries on ways and means to begin the process of negotiations towards a comprehensive political settlement in Kampuchea. The Foreign Ministers reiterated their willingness to give their full cooperation to the United Nations Secretary General in their collective efforts to bring about a comprehensive political settlement of the Kampuchean problem.
- The Foreign Ministers emphasised that as the Kampuchean problem also involved powers outside the region, a lasting and peaceful settlement of the problem could only be found through negotiations on the basis of the Declaration and Resolution of the International Conference on Kampuchea. They therefore urged Vietnam, as a party to the conflict, to join the rest of the international community in this process.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed their continued recognition of Democratic Kampuchea and their support for its representation at the United Nations. They emphasized that the grounds for their support for the credentials of Democratic Kampuchea were based on the fundamental principles of respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of States, non-interference in the internal affairs of States and non-use of force in international relations. The Foreign Ministers, therefore, called upon member States of the United Nations to uphold these principles and to support the continued representation of Democratic Kampuchea in the United Nations.
- The Foreign Ministers rejected all attempts to justify the continued unlawful occupation of Kampuchea and to seek recognition for the regime established in Phnom Penh by Vietnamese forces. They reaffirmed their stand that in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, such a regime, regardless of any semblance of legitimacy given to it, cannot lawfully be recognised by the international community.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their continued support for the efforts towards the formation of a Kampuchean coalition government in the spirit and according to the intent of the joint statement issued in Singapore on 4 September 1981, which would be conducive to the achievement of the objectives of the Declaration and Resolution of the International Conference on Kampuchea. They recognised that the establishment of a truly representative government in Kampuchea remained a matter for the Kampuchean people themselves to decide.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their firm belief that a comprehensive political solution of the Kampuchean problem is essential to the establishment of a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality in Southeast Asia which would ensure the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States in the region.
- The Foreign Ministers, deeply concerned by the parallel situations of continued foreign intervention in both Kampuchea and Afghanistan, emphasized their firm support for United Nations General Assembly Resolution 36/34, the relevant Resolutions adopted by the Organisation of lslamic Conference, and the Final Political Declaration of the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Countries adopted in New Delhi on 13 February 1981. They called for the early implementation of these Resolutions with regard to the situation in Afghanistan, particularly the withdrawal of all foreign forces from that country.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with appreciation that the generous contributions made by donor counties to the United Nations Kampuchean Emergency Relief Progamme had saved millions of Kampucheans from famine and disease. They expressed their deep appreciation to the UN agencies and other international and non-governmental organisations for their work in this respect.
- They saw a continuing necessity to assist the needy Kampucheans at the Thai/Kampuchean border and in the holding centres in Thailand, and the affected Thai villagers. In the case of the situation inside Kampuchea, the Foreign Ministers would support the continuation of humanitarian assistance in the event of a recurrence of an emergency situation. The Foreign Ministers urged the bilateral donors to do their snare in easing the plight of the Kampuchean people.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed concern that humanitarian assistant provided inside Kampuchea had, in some instances, been diverted to other purposes. They also expressed concern that some of the assistance provided had been used for developmental and infrastructure purposes which clearly exceeded the mandate of providing emergency relief and assistance. They therefore urged the United Nations and other international and voluntary agencies to adhere to their mandate and to monitor the proper, distribution of such assistance in a more effective manner.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their conviction that it was the inalienable right of the Kampuchean people who had sought refuge in neighbouring countries to return safely to their homeland. They also recognised that it was in full accord with humanitarian principles and constituted the most natural solution to the refugee problem. They also supported the view of the Government of Thailand that while it had granted first refuge to these Kampucheans, it was not obliged in any way to accept these people for permanent settlement in its territory. They further urged that the international community help to resettle the Kampucheans still remaining in the holding centres in Thailand so that the, would not be any residual problem for Thailand.
- The Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore reiterated their full support for the programme of voluntary repatriation of Kampuchean illegal immigrants/displaced persons/refugees carried out by the Government of Thailand in cooperation with the UNHCR.
- The Foreign Minister noted with concern that the problem of Vietnamese illegal immigrants still persists with continuing fresh arrival in substantial numbers. Nevertheless, out of humanitarian considerations, ASEAN countries, continue to provide shelter and transit facilities to these illegal immigrants. The Foreign Ministers emphasized that the granting of first refuge by ASEAN countries depends on commitment of resettlement in d countries and the avoidance of residual problems in the area. They expressed the hope that resettlement countries would continue with and expedite their intake of Vietnamese illegal immigrants. They reiterated their conviction that the problem should be tackled at its source and urged Vietnam to continue to cooperate by preventing further illegal departures. They also urged Vietnam, the UNHCR and resettlement countries to exert concerted efforts to enable a full and effective implementation of the Orderly Departure Programme.
Situation in Lebanon
- The Foreign Ministers recalled the statement they issued on 11 June 1982 on the situation in Lebanon. They reiterated their condemnation of Israel’s aggression against Lebanon. They also reaffirmed their full support for the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council calling for a cease-fire and for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon.
International Economic Issues
- The Foreign Ministers observed that while all ASEAN member countries experienced reasonable economic growth, they were nevertheless concerned with the worsening international economic situation especially the continuing recession in the industrialised countries with no prospect for immediate solution. The Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction with existing cooperation within ASEAN on a number of international economic issues.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed deep disappointment in the continued impasse in the North-South Dialogue. The Foreign Ministers called on the developed counties to exercise the necessary political will to immediately launch the Global Negotiations in order to expedite international economic recovery and the establishment of the New International Economic Order.
- With regard to the establishment of the Common Fund, the Foreign Ministers reiterated ASEAN’s full support for the Philippines’ offer to host the headquarters of the Common Fund.
- The Foreign Ministers viewed with dismay the continuing trend towards protectionism. They expressed the hope that the forthcoming GATT Ministerial Meeting would restore the basic task of GATT in ensuring that the principles of free trade are consistently practiced in the world market.
- The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed ASEAN’s determination to cooperate fully in their efforts to overcome the difficulties brought about by the adverse international economic conditions. They also reiterated ASEAN’s readiness to strengthen their collective efforts in all international fora.
- The Foreign Ministers in reviewing the developments in ASEAN cooperation during the past year observed with satisfaction that ASEAN has grown in stature and that it is recognized as an important regional organization in international affairs. The intensification of ASEAN’s collective efforts and commitments to promote the well-being of the region and its peoples have strengthened ASEAN solidarity and enhanced its stature as a viable, dynamic and credible regional organization. The Foreign Ministers also noted the important economic role played by ASEAN in international affairs.
- The Foreign Ministers reiterated their commitment to the principles and objectives of the Bangkok Declaration and of the ASEAN Concord which continue to provide the basis and operational framework for further intensification of ASEAN cooperation and its expanding role in international relations.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed efforts to intensify collaboration among member countries in the economic, social and cultural fields. The Foreign Ministers reaffirmed that these collective endeavours would contribute to furthering greater understanding among the ASEAN peoples and to the enhancement of their economic well-being.
- The Foreign Ministers adopted the Annual Report of the ASEAN Standing Committee. They noted with satisfaction that there has been accelerated progress in ASEAN cooperation through the implementation of projects and activities in various fields as well as cooperation between ASEAN and third countries/international organisations.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress of the ASEAN Industrial Projects (AIPs) and they recognised the significance of such undertakings and regarded this form of cooperation as being important for the industrial development of this region. The Foreign Ministers expressed the view that the early and successful operation of this joint venture effort among the ASEAN member countries would lead to investments in other industrial projects for the benefit of the ASEAN people, and the development of the region.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that 46.4 percent of the construction of the ASEAN urea project of Indonesia has been completed and the project will become operational in late 1983 or early 1984.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction that the ASEAN urea project of Malaysia has also made substantial progress. The scheduled date for completion of the project is 1985.
- The Foreign Ministers also noted with satisfaction that the Supplementary Agreement of the ASEAN Rock Salt. Soda Ash- Project of Thailand, the third AIP, was recently initialed by the ASEAN Economic Ministers.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that the ASEAN Economic Ministers had adopted the ASEAN copper fabrication project of the Philippines as the -fourth AIP.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that under the ASEAN Industrial Complementation (AIC) scheme, the first package of AIC products in the automotive industry is in the process of being implemented.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the decision of the ASEAN Economic-Ministers on Energy to establish a coal information centre in Thailand. The Foreign Ministers noted the activities of the ASEAN Economic Ministers on Energy and welcomed their decision in giving priority attention to research on alternative sources of energy and energy conservation.
- The Foreign Ministers welcomed the initiative of the ASEAN Economic Ministers in expanding and liberalising intra-ASEAN trade. They were encouraged by the significant progress achieved in increasing substantially the tariff preferences exchanged among ASEAN member counties under the ASEAN Preferential Trading Arrangement which now totals 8,563 items. They also welcomed the decision of the ASEAN Economic Ministers to expand the margin of preferences between 20 to 25 percent and noted that all member countries have implemented this margin of preference on import items valued between US$ 50,000 to US$ 500,000.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction that the ASEAN Swap Arrangements which was first established in August 1977 was extended in February 1982 for another five years.
- In the field of food, agriculture and forestry, the Foreign Ministers welcomed the decision of the ASEAN Economic Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry in adopting the Jakarta Consensus on ASEAN Tropical Forestry which embodies five areas of cooperation namely forestry policies technical assistance, institutions, intra-ASEAN trade and common stand on international issues. The Foreign Ministers also noted the conclusion of the ASEAN Declaration on Specific Animal Diseases Free Zone and the ASEAN Declaration to Eradicate Foot and Mouth Disease. The Foreign Ministers welcomed the efforts of the ASEAN Economic Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry to build a healthy environment and promote international trade in food, agriculture and forestry products for the benefit of member countries.
- In the field of social development, the Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction on the increased cooperation in the areas of education, population, drug prevention, health and nutrition, the ASEAN Women’s Programmes, human resources and tropical medicine.
- The Chairman of the Committee on Transport and Communications and the Chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology presented to the Chairman of the Standing Committee the ASEAN Routine Weather Report from Aircraft in Flight Programme (AIREP) Report and the ASEAN Regional Climatic Atlas and Compendium of Climatic Statistics respectively during the Meeting The Meeting noted with satisfaction that the two projects were funded by ASEAN.
- In the field of culture and information, the Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction on the successful completion of several cultural projects, in particular the project on the ASEAN sculptures in Singapore unveiled at the Fort Canning Park during a ceremony presided over by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers on 15 June 1982. The Foreign Ministers also noted with satisfaction that in 1981 the Committee on Culture and Information had implemented 21 projects with 45 activities.
Coopration with Third Countries
- The Foreign Ministers noted that while progress in most areas of the dialogues has been satisfactory, cooperation with dialogue countries on market access has in general, not been up to expectations.
- The Foreign Ministers noted that the review of ASEAN’s relations with third countries and international organisations was undertaken recently and that the following areas for cooperation were agreed upon :
- (i) Market access;
- (ii) Shipping;
- (iii) Energy;
- (iv) Transfer of technology;
- (v) Commodities and international economic issues;
- (vi) Social and cultural matters within the- framework of intra-ASEAN cooperation.
- The Foreign Ministers called upon the dialogue countries to make these dialogues more meaningful.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress made in expanding ASEAN’s contact with third world organisations such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the South Pacific Forum, the Andean Pact and ECOWAS. The Foreign Ministers noted that the initial contacts with these organisations are being developed on a Secretariat- to-Secretariat basis.
Re-examination of the International System
- The Foreign Ministers expressed the view that the existing international political and economic situation is fast moving into a state of crisis. The continuing conflicts around the world, the growing protectionist tendencies, high inflation and interest rates and unemployment bear testimony to this trend. They expressed deep concern that such developments, if allowed to continue, will not only stifle the further growth of the ASEAN economies and its cooperation, retard the chances of world economic recovery, but more fundamentally will erode the resilience of the system which supports independent nations. In this regard, they noted that the social systems of a number of newly independent states had been undermined. Noting this dangerous escalating trend, they called for an urgent and total re-examination of the entire international system. They urged the developed industrialised countries to ensure that all measures undertaken by them transcend their national interests and work for the emergence of a new more just and rational international system.
Private Sector and Non-Governmental Organisations
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation for the contribution of the ASEAN private sector in the economic development activities in the ASEAN member countries. They also appreciated the role of the private sector of the member countries in strengthening ASEAN economic cooperation.
- The Foreign Ministers also recognised the important role being played by ASEAN private sector and non-governmental organisations which promote people-to-people contact, goodwill, understanding and friendship. In this context, they welcomed the participation of the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASEAN-CCI) in the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting.
- The Foreign Ministers further commended the productive role played by the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization in efforts to promote intra-ASEAN cooperation and also cooperation with third countries.
- The Foreign Ministers noted with satisfaction that progress had been made in the process of strengthening the ASEAN Secretariat in the overall context of establishing an effective working mechanism to preserve and safeguard the forward momentum of ASEAN activity.
- The Foreign Ministers announced the appointment of Mr. Chan Kai Yau of the Republic of Singapore as the next Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat. His term of office will commence on 1 July 1982.
- The Foreign Ministers expressed their appreciation to the out-going Secretary General, His Excellency Narciso G. Reyes of the Republic of the Philippines, for his service to ASEAN and his contribution to the strengthening of the ASEAN Secretariat.
Sixteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting
- The Sixteenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting will be held in Thailand in June 1983, the dates to be decided at a later date.
- The Delegations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Singapore for the warm and generous hospitality accorded them and the excellent facilities provided and the efficient arrangements made for the Meeting.
- The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN friendship and solidarity.