1. The Ministers from ten Member Countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held two key inaugural meetings today. The first meeting was with the Ministers of China, Korea and Senior Vice-Minister of Japan. The second meeting was with the Minister of State, for Communications and Information Technology of India. Both meetings resulted in fruitful discussions.

2.  We took note of the timeliness and urgency of convening these meetings in the wake of global ICT revolution that is rapidly transforming the lives of people and societies. In responding to the present as well as future challenges of ICT, we underlined the importance of the start of these dialogues and their potential in achieving the objectives of the ASEAN Vision 2020, the e-ASEAN Framework Agreement and the respective national development agenda.

3.  We are convinced that there are many common areas of needs for cooperation that will allow us to enhance the achievement of ASEAN and East Asia, and ASEAN and India as a dynamic, resilient and cohesive partnership.

4.  Among the key areas of Cooperation are: Building pervasive and secure ASEAN Information Infrastructure, promoting e-Society and Capacity Building, e-Commerce and ICT Trade Facilitation with the ultimate aim to bridge the digital divide in ASEAN.  Collaborative projects proposed by ASEAN includes, Development and Adoption of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), ASEANNet for Persons with Disability and e-learning initiatives. To enhance the cooperation, we will work towards strengthening our existing dialogue mechanisms.

5.  We pledged to strengthen our bonds and partnership with China, Japan, Korea and India and bring these in line with our strategy of reinforcing ASEAN’s competitiveness through mutually-beneficial telecommunications and information technology cooperation. In this context, we are happy to note Japan’s initiative to convene the East Asia ICT Summit in July 2004 which among others, discussed ASEAN Cooperation with China, Japan and Korea.

6.  Finally, we committed ourselves to sustaining the ASEAN TELMIN plus China, Japan and Korea and ASEAN TELMIN and India process so as to achieve greater synergy through broader and deeper cooperation in telecommunications and information technology.