The Ministers Responsible for Information in ASEAN and the Plus 3 countries, namely, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), held their first meeting in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on 6 November 2009. The meeting, known as the First Conference of AMRI+3, was preceded by the ASEAN+3 Senior Officials Meeting for the First Conference of AMRI+3 on 4 November 2009.

Chairing the Conference, H.E. Mounkeo ORABOUN, Minister of Information and Culture of Lao PDR, warmly welcomed China, Japan and ROK to the meeting on behalf of the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information. In his opening remarks, he expressed thanks to the Plus 3 countries for their acknowledgement of the importance of and participation in this Conference. Through AMRI+3, he looks forward to fruitful cooperation between ASEAN and the Plus 3 countries, benefiting ASEAN Member States as well as China, Japan, ROK in order to maintain peace, friendship, security and prosperity.

The Ministers of the Plus 3 countries expressed their appreciation for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to them and their delegations. While individual Plus 3 countries have good relations with ASEAN Member States in information and media cooperation, they agreed that the AMRI+3 is a useful platform to expand cooperation with the region. China’s Minister of the State Council Information Office, H.E. Mr Wang Chen made several proposals, including giving full play to the role of government departments in advancing information exchange and cooperation, and raising the level of information exchange and media cooperation. Through this Conference, the State Council Information Office of China is willing to mobilize media resources, enrich cooperation content, expand cooperation fields and improve the quality and level of cooperation. Japan’s Vice Minister for Policy Coordination, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, H.E. Mr Akira Terasaki, stated that Japan hopes the ASEAN Member States will refer to its experience in digitalising TV, and that Japan would like to contribute to Asian countries in the circulation of good quality programmes. He expressed his expectations to build a good relationship among the ASEAN+3 countries by utilising the outcomes of the Conference. ROK’s Vice-Minister, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, H.E. Mr Kim Dae Ki, proposed ways to diversify and intensify media cooperation in the region, including joint international production of broadcast content, exchange programmes of journalists, joint translation and publication projects. He said this first Conference of AMRI+3 will be a sturdy cornerstone in the endeavor to bring about prosperity to ASEAN and all the East Asian countries, including Korea.

The Conference was attended by H.E. Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (RTD) Dato Seri Pahlawan Awang Hj Mohammad Bin Hj Daud, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Mr Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, Kingdom of Cambodia; H.E. Sutjiptohardjo Donokusumo, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Lao PDR, Indonesia; H.E. Mounkeo ORABOUN, Minister of Information and Culture, Lao PDR; H.E. Dato’ Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim, Minister of Information, Communications and Culture, Malaysia; H.E. Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan, Minister of Information, Myanmar; H.E. Mr Conrado A. Limcaoco, Jr, Secretary, Philippine Information Agency and Government Mass Media Group, Philippines; Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, Singapore; H.E. Mr Satit Wongnongtaey, Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Thailand; H.E. Mr Le Doan Hop, Minister of Information and Communications, Viet Nam, H.E. Mr Wang Chen, Minister of the State Council Information Office, China; H.E. Mr Akira Terasaki, Vice Minister for Policy Coordination, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan; H.E. Mr Kim Dae Ki, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea; and H.E. Mr Sayakane Sisouvong, Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Political-Security Community.

The Conference marks the formal start of cooperation in the information sector at the ASEAN+3 level. The Ministers were of the view that information and media cooperation between ASEAN and the Plus 3 countries would reach new heights with the convening of the AMRI+3. They noted that such cooperation would promote greater understanding among the ASEAN+3 countries and strengthen community building in the region.

At the meeting, the Ministers explored ways in which ASEAN and the Plus 3 countries could collaborate in the information sector, including in digital broadcasting, co-productions in digital content and media exchanges. They tasked their Senior Officials to draw up a work plan on ASEAN+3 cooperation in information.

Following the Conference, the Ministers visited the Southeast Asian Games Stadium and Sea Games Village ahead of the 25th SEA Games on 9-18 December 2009 in Vientiane. The Ministers wished Lao PDR a successful staging of the Games.

The Ministers expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Lao PDR for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements contributing to the success of the Conference. The Conference was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN solidarity and cordiality.

The 2nd AMRI+3 is tentatively scheduled to be held in Malaysia in 2011.