1. The Nineteenth ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue was held on 23 May 2006 in Bangkok. Delegates from the Governments of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam and the United States attended the Meeting. Representatives of the ASEAN Secretariat also participated.
2. In his welcoming remarks, Mr. Krit Garnjana-Goonchorn, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, underlined the importance of the long-standing ASEAN-U.S. dialogue relations and emphasized that the relationship was a solid foundation in maintaining peace, security, and prosperity in the overall regional architecture. He also highlighted the upcoming 30th anniversary of ASEAN-U.S. dialogue relations and the establishment of the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership, which contributed to the further promotion of this vibrant relationship.
3. In his opening remarks, the Honorable Christopher R. Hill, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, emphasized the flourishing relations between ASEAN and the U.S. and the importance of the region and of ASEAN to the U.S. He pointed out the landmark developments in ASEAN-U.S. relations over the past year, especially the release of the Joint Vision Statement on the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership and the work being done on the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership. He welcomed and supported ASEAN’s efforts to establish the ASEAN Community, promote ASEAN integration, and reduce the development gap. He also underscored the common interest of ASEAN and the U.S. to further develop economic relations when the ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Agreement (TIFA) is concluded and to promote regional stability and security.
4. The Meeting welcomed the announcement of the Joint Vision Statement on the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership on 17 November 2005 in all ASEAN capitals and Washington D.C., which reaffirmed the strength of ASEAN-U.S. relations, underlined the U.S. contribution in the evolving regional architecture and set the direction for future cooperation in regional and global context. The Meeting also noted that 2007 will mark the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-U.S. dialogue partnership and agreed to undertake joint activities to mark the occasion through various activities, including exploring an ASEAN-U.S. Commemorative Summit similar to that convened with Japan and China.
5. The Meeting expressed satisfaction with the progress in drafting the Plan of Action to effectively implement the ASEAN-U.S. Enhanced Partnership called for in the Joint Vision Statement. It was agreed that the draft Plan of Action would be submitted to Ministers of Foreign Affairs of ASEAN and the U.S. Secretary of State for adoption and signing at the Post Ministerial Conference Session with the U.S. in Kuala Lumpur in July 2006.
6. The Meeting emphasized the importance of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) as a code of conduct governing relations in the region for the promotion of regional peace and stability. The Meeting noted that Papua New Guinea, China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Australia have already acceded to the TAC and that France has recently announced its decision to sign the TAC. In this connection, the ASEAN side indicated that it would welcome the U.S. accession to the TAC.
7. The Meeting reaffirmed ASEAN’s goal of establishing the ASEAN Community, consisting of political and security, economic and socio-cultural pillars, through the implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) and the subsequent plans to achieve ASEAN Vision 2020. The Meeting also discussed developments in ASEAN, as well as support for the integration of ASEAN and for the reduction of the development gap within ASEAN through the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and existing sub-regional cooperation frameworks, such as Ayeyawady- Chao Phraya- Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), ASEAN Mekong Basin Development Cooperation (AMBDC), Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT), West-East corridor, and Cambodia-Lao PDR- Viet Nam (CLV) Development Triangle.
8. The Meeting was briefed by Malaysia on the outcome of the 1st East Asia Summit (EAS) and its role as an ASEAN-driven and Leaders-led forum to discuss strategic issues based upon the basic principle of openness, transparency and inclusiveness. The U.S. expressed its views on the importance for regional institutions to complement and not compete with one another.
9. The Meeting underscored the importance of a peaceful, comprehensive solution to the issue of the Korean Peninsula to peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region. The Meeting expressed a sense of urgency and support for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks and the implementation of the September 2005 agreement and noted that ASEAN, particularly the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), could play a supportive role to help create a more conducive atmosphere and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
10. The Meeting exchanged views on the latest developments in the Middle East. The Meeting agreed that peace and stability in the region lies on a comprehensive, durable and just resolution to the conflict. It expressed support for the Road Map and relevant UN resolutions. The Meeting also supported the establishment of a peaceful and democratic Palestinian state existing side-by-side with Israel within secure and recognized borders.
11. The Meeting was briefed by the U.S. on the situation in Iraq, especially with regard to the political process, security situation and reconstruction efforts. The Meeting condemned the continued acts of violence that have affected innocent civilians, religious leaders and Iraqi authorities. The Meeting expressed hope for increased efforts to restore peace and stability in Iraq and also expressed hope for all parties to complete the successful political reconstruction of Iraq.
12. The Meeting noted the concern over Iran’s nuclear programme, emphasized the desire to see this problem addressed through diplomatic means and called on Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and be more transparent.
13. The Meeting expressed determination to further enhance the economic relations between ASEAN and the U.S. through the consultations between the Economic Ministers of ASEAN Member Countries and U.S. Trade Representative. The Meeting expressed the hope that the negotiations on the ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Agreement (TIFA), which could lead to a future Free Trade Agreement, would make substantial progress. The Meeting recognized the importance of strong inter-regional economic linkages and committed to increase the volume of trade and investment between ASEAN and the U.S. It also exchanged views on the economic outlook in ASEAN and the U.S. It welcomed the nomination of the new U.S. Trade Representative and hoped that the envoy would further strengthen ASEAN-U.S. economic relations.
14. The Meeting recognized the role of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in promoting prosperity and fostering economic cooperation in the region. In this regard, the Meeting looked forward to the successful outcome of the APEC Leaders Meeting to be held in Ha Noi, Viet Nam in November 2006 and the convening of a meeting between U.S. and ASEAN Leaders on its sideline. The Meeting welcomed Cambodia’s desire to become a member of APEC when the moratorium is lifted. The Meeting exchanged views on the proposal to establish cooperation between ASEAN and APEC.
15. The Meeting discussed the progress of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations and emphasized the importance of a successful and ambitious outcome of the Doha Round of negotiations, including its development agenda. The Meeting supported the early accessions to the WTO by Viet Nam and Lao PDR and welcomed the recent conclusion of the U.S.-Viet Nam bilateral negotiations on Viet Nam’s WTO membership. In this connection, the U.S. side expressed strong support for the early establishment of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Viet Nam.
16. The Meeting called for enhanced cooperation to combat the threats of international terrorism. It reaffirmed the importance of information sharing, exchange of best practices, and strengthening law enforcement to tackle this issue. The Meeting highlighted the role of the ARF as an active forum to coordinate and enhance regional effort in cooperation on counter-terrorism and to address regional security issues.
17. The Meeting agreed to enhance cooperation to fight transnational crime, including narcotics, trafficking in persons, illegal arms smuggling and money-laundering. The Meeting pointed out that technical assistance and capacity-building were important for ASEAN to deal with these problems effectively.
18. The Meeting supported full utilization of existing regional and international institutions, such as the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter Terrorism (SEARCCT) in Kuala Lumpur, the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC), and the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS) in Hawaii to prepare personnel of the agencies concerned to effectively cooperate with each other in combating terrorism and transnational crime.
19. The Meeting emphasized the importance of closer cooperation on avian influenza, including the training of personnel, establishment of information sharing system and coordination of national pandemic preparedness plans. It discussed the possibility to establish a surveillance diagnosis centre to serve as a regional information centre. The Meeting also noted the outcome of the ACMECS Special SOM on Avian Influenza Pandemic Preparedness in Bangkok on 8 May 2006 as an example of cooperation for the countries in the region to jointly control and prevent the outbreak of avian influenza through a concrete action plan.
20. The Meeting reaffirmed the commitment of ASEAN and the U.S. to the promotion of sustainable development, protection of the environment and cooperate on global environmental issues, such as on climate change and clean development mechanism, haze and environmental sustainability.
21. The Meeting expressed concern over the continued increase of the price of oil which could undermine economic development of countries in the region. The Meeting discussed increased cooperation in this area to promote adequate access to energy services, energy efficiency, affordable technologies for renewable and alternative energy, and financing for investment opportunities in the region’s energy sector.
22. The Meeting discussed cooperation on disaster management and emergency response. It recognized the importance of establishing a network of national and regional Tsunami early warning systems. The Meeting took note of the establishment of the UNESCAP Tsunami Regional Trust Fund and recognized the standby arrangements for disaster relief and emergency response in ASEAN and encouraged its establishment of linkages with other global and regional arrangements.
23. The Meeting was briefed by Thailand on the progress in intensifying efforts in support of ASEAN’s candidate for the position of United Nations Secretary-General.
24. The Meeting acknowledged the importance of the ASEAN Cooperation Plan (ACP) producing concrete results through numerous projects in various fields, which have increased since the inception of the ACP.
25. The Meeting invited the members of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) to the session on economic issues and welcomed the interaction with representatives of the U.S. private sector during the working luncheon, in which these representatives presented issues aimed at improving the business climate and strengthening U.S. businesses in ASEAN. The Meeting exchanged views with the members of the USABC about ASEAN economic integration, trade and investment facilitation, as well as the expansion of U.S. business ventures in ASEAN.
26. The Meeting agreed to convene the next ASEAN-U.S. Dialogue in the U.S. in 2007.