Chairman’s Statement of the 34th ASEAN Summit, Bangkok, 23 June 2019, Advancing Partnership for Sustainability
We, the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States, gathered in Bangkok for the 34th ASEAN Summit on 23 June 2019. We emphasised the importance of advancing partnership for sustainability to achieve a people-centred, people-oriented and forward-looking ASEAN Community that leaves no one behind in the rapidly changing regional and global environment.
We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining ASEAN Centrality and unity in our Community-building efforts and engagement with external partners. We reiterated the need to maintain a sustainable, resilient and forward-looking ASEAN-centred regional architecture and agreed to continue promoting synergy among the various ASEAN-led mechanisms, including the ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three (APT), East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus).
We reaffirmed our shared commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
We adopted the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on “Partnership for Sustainability”, which aims to ensure sustainability in all dimensions, including sustainable security through the deepening of strategic trust, sustainable economic growth and sustainable development as well as sustainable human security. It also emphasises continuity and sustainability in ASEAN’s Community-building efforts and policies, in partnership with stakeholders within ASEAN and with the international community, to realise enduring peace, stability and prosperity in the region for the benefit of the people of ASEAN.
We recognised the progress made in enhancing inclusive sustainable development cooperation, particularly by promoting complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Complementarities Initiative) including through the development of a Complementarities Roadmap and other feasible projects to generate concrete benefits for the people of the region. We look forward to the establishment of an ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue in Thailand as a concrete step to steer sustainable development cooperation in ASEAN.
ASEAN POLITICAL-SECURITY COMMUNITY
We reaffirmed the importance of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) as the key code of conduct governing inter-State relations in the region and underscored its relevance to the wider region. We welcomed the interest of non-regional countries to accede to the TAC, displaying their political will and commitment to ASEAN’s fundamental principles in promoting peace, friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation among nations.
We reiterated our commitment to preserve the Southeast Asian region as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone and free of all other weapons of mass destruction as enshrined in the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone (SEANWFZ Treaty) and the ASEAN Charter. We stressed the importance of the full and effective implementation of the SEANWFZ Treaty, including under the Plan of Action to Strengthen the Implementation of the SEANWFZ Treaty (2018-2022). We reaffirmed our commitment to continuously engage the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) and intensify the ongoing efforts of all Parties to resolve all outstanding issues in accordance with the objectives and principles of the SEANWFZ Treaty. Our ASEAN experts could explore ways to bridge the differences, including the possibility of engaging with NWS experts. We will continue to submit the biennial SEANWFZ Resolution through the First Committee to the UNGA.
We agreed to strengthen cooperation on border management as reflected in the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, and in accordance with respective domestic laws and policies, to better safeguard the increasingly interconnected and integrated ASEAN Community by having the relevant sectoral bodies discuss common concerns such as transnational crimes, trafficking in persons, illegal timber and wildlife trafficking, illicit drug trafficking and cross-border challenges including pandemics while facilitating cross-border trade and movement of people. To this end we looked forward to discussions under relevant sectoral bodies to further enhance the effectiveness of existing relevant ASEAN mechanisms on border management cooperation and explore possible border management cooperation arrangements.
We acknowledged that the defence sectoral body, under the ambit of the ADMM, continues to consolidate its work this year under the theme of 3S’s, namely: (i) Sustainable Security; (ii) Strengthening, consolidating and optimising defence cooperation; and (iii) Supporting cross-pillar and cross-sectoral activities. The Leaders welcomed the inclusion of the ASEAN Center of Military Medicine (ACMM) as a subsidiary body under the ADMM in Annex 1 of the ASEAN Charter. We look forward to a number of major exercises and activities to be conducted under the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Groups (EWG), which will culminate in the work of the current 2017-2020 cycle. We welcomed the new set of CoChairs of the EWG for the upcoming 2020-2023 cycle starting at the ADSOM-Plus in 2020 in Viet Nam, which have been recently endorsed to move forward with practical defence cooperation in the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operations, maritime security, counter-terrorism, military medicine, humanitarian mine action and cybersecurity.
We agreed to enhance cybersecurity cooperation and the building of an open, secure, stable, accessible and resilient cyberspace supporting the digital economy of the ASEAN region through a feasible coordination mechanism for ASEAN cyber discussions, implementing practical confidence-building measures and adopting a set of common, voluntary and nonbinding norms of responsible State behaviour in cyberspace as per the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation,including the Ministers’ guidance in developing an ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025, as well as supporting the cybersecurity activities and training programmes of the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (ASCCE) in Singapore and the ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Centre (AJCCBC) in Bangkok, which will complement existing ASEAN efforts in cybersecurity capacity-building.
We commended the significant progress made and reaffirmed our commitment in the fight against transnational crimes, particularly in the areas of trafficking in persons and counter-terrorism, including by strengthening cross-sectoral and cross-pillar collaboration through the full implementation of the Bohol Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Work Plan 2017- 2020 and the development of the Work Plan of the ASEAN Plan of Action to Prevent and Counter the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism 2018-2025. We reaffirmed our commitment to addressing the scourge of drugs through the delivery of the Joint ASEAN Statement at the Ministerial Segment of the 62nd Session of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND) in March 2019 and the Joint ASEAN Statement Against Legalisation of Controlled Drugs at the 5th CND Intersessional Meeting in November 2018, thereby reaffirming ASEAN’s unity in maintaining a zero tolerance approach to drugs and promoting communities free of drug abuse.
We commended the work of the ASEAN Law Ministers Meeting (ALAWMM) and the ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM) in the field of legal and judicial cooperation including on the issue of extradition and further encourage them to commence deliberation on an ASEAN Extradition Treaty. We were pleased to note further achievement in judicial cooperation in the form of endorsement by ASEAN Member States to elevate the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters into an ASEAN Treaty and welcomed the elevation of the ASEAN Ministers/Attorneys-General Meeting of the Central Authorities on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (AMAG-MLAT) and the Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Central Authorities on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters (SOM-MLAT) as an ASEAN Sectoral Bodies under the ASEAN Political-Security Community in Annex 1 of the ASEAN Charter.
13, We reaffirmed our commitment to promoting tolerance, moderation and respect for diversity as well as to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms as they are core principles of ASEAN, and in this context, we underscored the importance of addressing effectively the challenges posed by violent extremism.
We noted with satisfaction the progress of AICHR in the promotion and protection of human rights in ASEAN. We also noted that this year, 2019, marks a decade of the establishment of AICHR. In this regard, we encourage AICHR to further continue its work in mainstreaming human rights across all three pillars of the ASEAN Community and in implementing its mandate to promote and protect human rights in a full and effective manner.
We were pleased to note the progress made on the consideration of Timor-Leste’s application for ASEAN Membership, with all three Pillars preparing for their respective factfinding missions to Timor-Leste, and look forward to the outcomes of the aforementioned missions. We also reiterated our readiness to provide capacity-building assistance to Timor-Leste.
We took note of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (ASEAN-IPR)’s efforts in promoting peace, conflict management and conflict resolution through its various activities.
ASEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY
We reaffirmed our commitment towards further economic integration. We welcomed Brunei Darussalam for joining 5 AMS (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam) in the live operation of the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) and looked forward to the remaining ASEAN Member States being on board within this year to achieve full regional coverage of the ASW. We reiterated the significant role that trade facilitation plays in creating an inclusive and sustainable ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). We urged timely implementation of regional initiatives, such as the ASEAN-wide Self-Certification Scheme (AWSCS) and the ASEAN Customs Transit System (ACTS). We welcomed the finalisation of the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Type Approval for Automotive Products (APMRA) and look forward to its signing and subsequent implementation.
We recognised that the global economy is at an important crossroad with an increasing number of uncertainties and challenges. In this regard, we reiterated our strong commitment to concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations within 2019 to reinvigorate international trade and to maintain ASEAN credibility and centrality. We urged the RCEP Ministers and officials to redouble their efforts to reach this target, guided by the RCEP Work Plan 2019 which was endorsed by the Ministers at the intersessional meeting in Siem Reap in March 2019. We also called for relevant ASEAN partners to prioritise the RCEP negotiations and to work with ASEAN to conclude the RCEP negotiations within this year.
We recognised that financial cooperation and integration remain important for a strong and stable ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), especially at this time of heightened global uncertainties. We welcomed the signing of the Protocol to Implement the Eighth Package of Commitments on Financial Services under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) by ASEAN Finance Ministers on 5 April 2019, which underscores our strong commitment in advancing linkages among AMS by further opening market access in the financial services sector. We noted that negotiations for the 9th Protocol have commenced and encouraged ASEAN Member States to make substantial commitments for its early finalisation, in line with the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Consolidated Strategic Action Plan (SAP) 2025. We noted the endorsement of ASEAN Capital Markets Forum’s (ACMF) initiative to create the Roadmap for ASEAN Sustainable Capital Markets by the ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on 5 April 2019 in Chiang Rai, Thailand as well as ongoing work on innovative financing approaches through Inclusive Finance Facility and the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility, and connectivity through local currency settlement and cross-border retail payments. We reaffirmed our commitment to accelerate infrastructure development and financing in ASEAN through the mobilisation of private capital. We also recognised the importance of keeping abreast of technological advancements and the digital economy for the benefit of the region’s growth and development. We welcomed efforts to encourage the ASEAN banking community to gradually adopt the principles of sustainable finance into business practices. We underscored the importance of the use of local currencies to promote trade and investment in our region. We also welcomed the continued efforts in developing a regional framework to facilitate the integration of real-time retail payment system in ASEAN, including the progress on the Thailand and Singapore payment system linkage and look forward to its live-operation by the first half of 2020.
We welcomed the signing of the Protocol to Amend the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement on 2 March 2019 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and looked forward to its early implementation. We also welcomed the entry into force of the ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA), and the ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Investment Agreement (AHKIA), respectively on June 11th and June 17th. We expressed confidence that the trade and investment opportunities arising from these agreements and other ASEAN Plus One FTAs would further stimulate growth and development in the region.
We remained concerned over the unabating tide of protectionism and antiglobalisation sentiments that continue to plague the global economy and put the multilateral trading system under threat. Amidst the challenges faced by the World Trade Organization (WTO), there is a need to preserve and strengthen the dispute settlement mechanism being the WTO’s unique system in settling trade disputes. We therefore reaffirmed our strong commitment to upholding an inclusive, transparent, and rules-based multilateral trading system. We also noted the work that is being undertaken to reform and modernise the World Trade Organization (WTO) and reiterated our full support to this endeavor.
We noted the deep concern of some ASEAN Member States on issues relating to unfair market access and treatment for palm oil. We reaffirmed our support for the concerned Member States’ efforts to address the sustainability of palm oil, including their continued engagement with relevant parties.
We welcomed the significant progress in implementing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 towards a seamless and competitive ASEAN Community. To address the sustainable infrastructure needs of the region and unlock opportunities, we are pleased to note that the development of the Initial Rolling Priority Pipeline of Potential ASEAN Infrastructure Projects has progressed well and look forward to the launch of the ASEAN Infrastructure Projects at the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits. Complementing the efforts to advance sustainable infrastructure, we also welcomed the commencement of work on the development of an ASEAN database on trade routes and framework for enhancing supply chain efficiency. We emphasised the importance of promoting links and interface between ASEAN and sub-regional arrangements as well as between ASEAN MPAC 2025 and the connectivity strategies of other countries and regions, using the “Connecting the Connectivities” approach, which could broaden and deepen our partnerships on connectivity. We commended the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee (ACCC), the Lead Implementing Bodies (LIBs) and relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies for their strong support to the implementation of MPAC 2025, and appreciated the continuous contributions of our Dialogue Partners and external parties.
We encouraged cooperation in the pursuit of ASEAN as a single tourism destination which promotes responsible, sustainable, inclusive and balanced tourism development, so as to contribute significantly to the socio-economic well-being of ASEAN people. We also supported the liberalisation of air services under the ASEAN Single Aviation Market, including through efforts to harmonise and enhance air traffic operations through the establishment of a Seamless ASEAN Sky.
We underlined the need for a more holistic approach to prepare ASEAN for the challenges brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). We noted the ongoing work on the development of the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework Action Plan (DIFAP) 2015-2025, ASEAN Innovation Roadmap 2019-2025, ASEAN Declaration on Industrial Transformation to Industry 4.0, Guideline on Skilled Labour/Professional Services Development in Response to the 4IR, and initiatives related to the digitalisation of ASEAN micro enterprises. We commended the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) for its 2019 legacy project entitled “ASEAN Human Empowerment and Development (AHEAD)”, which focuses on human capital development to embrace the 4IR. We encouraged strengthening partnerships between all relevant sectoral bodies, stakeholders, as well as the private sectors to better prepare for and fully harness the 4IR as highlighted by the ASEAN Digital Ministers’ Retreat in March 2019 in Phuket. We commended the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) for publishing the “ASEAN Vision 2040: Towards a Bolder and Stronger ASEAN Community” report which provides recommendations on how to most effectively prepare ASEAN for the future, particularly the 4IR.
We welcomed the holding of the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) Roundtable Meeting and Conference on Smart and Sustainable Cities to discuss the ASCN Terms of Reference and the ASCN Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework that would further institutionalise the ASCN on 6-7 June 2019 in Bangkok. We encouraged the ASCN pilot cities to continue to implement their city action plans.
We commended the convening of the ASEAN Meeting on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing in partnership with the European Union (EU) on 4-5 April 2019 in Bangkok which is aimed at: (i) exchanging experiences and expertise on policies, regulations, and best practices to combat IUU fishing; (ii) strengthening cooperation on combating IUU activities among the enforcement agencies, authorities and other relevant stakeholders in ASEAN through effective implementation of existing mechanisms under ASEAN, including relevant international law and instruments; (iii) implementing sustainable fisheries management and cooperation; and (iv) exploring the possibility of establishing an ASEAN IUU Network.
We also commended the initiative of the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Illegal Wildlife Trade (SAMM-IWT) which aimed to enhance regional efforts to reduce demand for IW products, strengthen law enforcement, and encourage ASEAN Member States to monitor the online IW.
We welcomed ongoing sub-regional economic cooperation efforts which continue to serve as catalysts for economic growth and sustainable development and for reinforcing regional economic integration and connectivity, such as the Brunei Darussalam-IndonesiaMalaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Indonesia-MalaysiaThailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) and Ayeyawady – Chao Phraya – Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) processes, as well as new initiatives such as the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), all of which will help complement ASEAN Community-building.
ASEAN SOCIO-CULTURAL COMMUNITY
We are committed to consolidating and strengthening regional cooperation in culture-related areas through the adoption of the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the ASEAN Cultural Year 2019 with the theme of ‘Diversity, Creativity, and Sustainability’. We looked forward to vibrant cultural exchanges among the ASEAN Member States, including the Best of ASEAN Performing Arts 2019. We also welcomed the planned ‘ASEAN Cultural Troupe: Oneness to the World’, the cultural showcases in the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) countries and other parts of the world, and other related activities to bring a unified voice through ASEAN cultures and heritage to global audiences. In raising ASEAN identity and awareness, we appreciated the convening of the ASEAN University Students Council Union conference, the intra-ASEAN scholarships program and the contribution of the ASEAN Cultural Center in Bangkok.
We welcomed the shared wish of ASEAN to develop a joint bid to host a FIFA World Cup and supported the efforts of national football associations of ASEAN Member States and the ASEAN Football Federation to realise this goal.
We noted with satisfaction the adoption of the Concept Note and Terms of Reference for the Network of ASEAN Associations of the ASEAN Member States by the 23rd ASEAN Coordinating Council Meeting, which aims at promoting greater public awareness of ASEAN and its identity, as well as strengthening and broadening grass-roots support for the ASEAN Community within ASEAN Member States. We also looked forward to the first annual meeting of the Network in Thailand in 2019.
We agreed on the need to strengthen ASEAN preparedness to deal with the trends of an ageing society, as well as the promotion of better social safety nets, through the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Active Ageing and Innovation (ACAI) and the development of an ASEAN Training Centre for Social Work and Social Welfare (ATCSW) this year.
We noted the development of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Culture of Prevention to implement the ASEAN Declaration on Culture for Prevention for a Peaceful, Inclusive, Resilient, Healthy and Harmonious Society adopted in 2017 in particular the outreach campaigns of the six priorities of Culture of Prevention that will commence in 2019 and 2020.
In ensuring a competitive workforce equipped with future-ready skills, we noted the signing of the ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Statement on the Future of Work: Embracing Technology for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth, as well as the finalisation of the Future ASEAN Agenda on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). We further noted the adoption of the ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Joint Statement on Green Initiative to the 108th International Labour Conference by the ASEAN Labour Ministers and emphasised the need to promote business and human rights based on the United Nations’ ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework.
We noted the ongoing efforts to implement the ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Education for Out-of-School Children and Youth (OOSCY) adopted at the 28th ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Lao PDR in 2016, including the development of a regional action plan for the implementation of the said Declaration.
We shared a concern for the multi-faceted impact and risks of climate change and climate-related disasters on the people of ASEAN. We welcomed the positive outcomes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Katowice Climate Change Conference in 2018, and reiterated ASEAN’s commitment to advancing climate action towards the achievement of our respective Nationally Determined Contributions in implementing the Paris Agreement. We look forward to furthering progress at the upcoming UNFCCC Santiago Climate Change Conference as well as the UN Climate Action Summit 2019. We recognised the importance of a people-oriented and people-centred approach in dealing with climate change and will continue to enhance our communication, education and public awareness on climate change, as well as environmental protection.
We recognised that our region is prone to natural disasters, which cause disruptions to the socio-economic development and people’s ways of lives. We reiterated our support for the operationalisation of the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region. We also commended the work of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) and the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) enhancing ASEAN’s capabilities and cooperation in disaster management and emergency response. In this regard, we welcomed the establishment of an ASEAN Satellite Warehouse in Chai Nat, Thailand, and looked forward to the launch of the ASEAN Satellite Warehouse in Manila, the Philippines in 2019 under the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA), which will enhance the mobilisation and delivery of relief items rapidly to disaster-affected areas. We also look forward towards the operationalisation of ASEAN Militaries Ready Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (AMRG on HADR) which will help reinforce ASEAN’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities to respond to disasters effectively under a single ASEAN banner. We also agreed on the need to strengthen regional collaboration on public health at the national and regional levels in line with the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) through the operationalisation of the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Disaster Health Management. We also welcomed the endorsement of the Phase 2 Plan of Action of the ASEAN Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (ADRFI), that would support the provision of disaster risk financing and insurance solutions in the region, to close ASEAN’s protection gap and reinforce ASEAN’s disaster resilience.
We shared a concern over the high and rapidly increasing levels of marine debris and acknowledged the urgent need for strong regional collaboration among ASEAN Member States and with partners to effectively address this issue. We therefore welcomed the convening of the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Marine Debris on 5 March 2019 in Bangkok. We adopted the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region and welcomed the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris to strengthen collaborative action among ASEAN Member States and partners to prevent and significantly reduce marine debris, produced from both sea-based and land-based activities.
We noted that transboundary haze pollution, arising from land and forest fires remains a major concern in the region. We reiterated our commitment to the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) and the Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation Towards Transboundary Haze Pollution Control with Means of Implementation (the Roadmap) to achieve a Haze-Free ASEAN by 2020. We looked forward to the conducting of the Mid-Term Review on the implementation of the Roadmap to take stock of the implementation progress and to sustain momentum in ensuring concrete improvements towards achieving the vision of the Roadmap. We looked forward to the establishment and full operationalisation of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution under the AATHP which will provide a strategic framework for the implementation of collaborative actions, to address transboundary haze pollution in the ASEAN region.
We recognised the challenges of biodiversity conservation and the impact of climate change in ASEAN, in particular activities relating to the loss of biodiversity. We noted the positive outcome of the 14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP14) in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt in 2018. We recognised the progress made in implementing conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity of the region to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, with the support of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, and encouraged all ASEAN Member States to join the preparation of the Post-2020 biodiversity framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity taking into account the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals.
We reaffirmed our support for a more visible and enhanced role of ASEAN to support Myanmar in providing humanitarian assistance, facilitating the repatriation process with regard to the situation in Rakhine State, and promoting sustainable development. We appreciated the efforts of the Secretary-General of ASEAN (ASG), the AHA Centre, and officials from the Government of Myanmar in conducting the Preliminary Needs Assessment (PNA) Mission, which was based on the mandate given by ASEAN. We agreed for the ASG to go further with the recommendations contained in the PNA, including those that focus on capacity building, dissemination of information and support to the provision of basic services in Rakhine State, and recognised the need for adequate resources for these activities. We underscored the importance of prioritisation of the basic services that would receive support and the usefulness of exploring cooperation with ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners on possible support. We welcomed the compilation of information by the ASEAN Secretariat regarding the cooperation and assistance voluntarily extended by ASEAN Member States to Myanmar to address the humanitarian situation, which will facilitate enhanced ASEAN coordination on this matter.
We stressed the importance of and expressed our continued support for Myanmar’s commitment to ensure safety and security for all communities in Rakhine State as effectively as possible and facilitate the voluntary return of displaced persons in a safe, secure and dignified manner. We looked forward to the full implementation of the MOU between Myanmar Government, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and to the continued and effective dialogue between Myanmar and Bangladesh to facilitate the repatriation process of displaced persons from Rakhine State. We stressed the need to find a comprehensive and durable solution to address the root causes of the conflict and to create a conducive environment so that the affected communities can rebuild their lives. We encouraged Myanmar to continue to implement the remaining recommendations of the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. We expect that the Independent Commission of Enquiry established by the Government of Myanmar would seek accountability by carrying out an independent and impartial investigation into alleged human rights violations and related issues. We also reaffirmed ASEAN’s support for Myanmar’s efforts to bring peace, stability, the rule of law, to promote harmony and reconciliation among the various communities as well as to ensure sustainable and equitable development in Rakhine State.
We noted the work of the ASEAN Committee on the Implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (ACMW) and look forward to the adoption of the Terms of Reference of ACMW this year. We were pleased to note the on-going implementation of the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers by the ASEAN Member States through its action plan and filling up of the self-assessment tool, and acknowledged notable progress in the empowerment of women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons in the ASEAN region. We looked forward to the implementation of the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the finalisation of the Regional Plan of Action to Implement the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Ageing Empowering Older Persons in ASEAN. We also reaffirmed the commitment to promote the women, peace and security agenda in the ASEAN region as outlined in the Joint Statement on Promoting Women, Peace and Security in ASEAN by building on existing frameworks, such as the ASEAN Women for Peace Registry, under the ASEAN Institute of Peace and Reconciliation.
We noted the continued progress in the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan III and the on-going monitoring and evaluation of the capacity building activities. We expressed appreciation to ASEAN Member States, Dialogue Partners and external parties for the financial and technical assistance provided in implementing the IAI Work Plan III and recognised the important role of sub-regional cooperation framework in delivering the benefits of the ASEAN Community to the less developed areas of Member States, with the aim of achieving inclusive and equitable development. In this regard, we encouraged deeper cooperation among the sub-regional groupings and with the ASEAN Secretariat to promote greater coordination of sub-regional and regional initiatives, where applicable. We will continue our collective efforts in the rural development to serve as an essential strategy to eradicate poverty and eliminate urbanrural development gap. We encouraged further convergence of rural development and poverty eradication initiatives at the local, national and regional levels under the ASEAN Framework Action Plan on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (RDPE) 2016- 2020.
We also agreed to comprehensively address the underlying causes of malnutrition and associated diseases to improve the quality of life of ASEAN peoples for a more vibrant and dynamic region, consistent with the vision of the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Ending All Forms of Malnutrition.
We recognised the pivotal role of our civil service in providing coordinated, efficient, effective and responsive public services to the peoples of ASEAN. We commended the ASEAN Cooperation on Civil Service Matters (ACCSM) for its role in the promotion of good governance principles in public management towards efficient, citizen-centric, and accountable civil services in ASEAN. In this regard, we look forward to the finalisation of the ASEAN Statement on Promotion of Good Governance and Acceleration of an Agile Civil Service in a Digital Economy.
ASEAN EXTERNAL RELATIONS
We noted with satisfaction the strengthening of relations with our Dialogue Partners, Sectoral Dialogue Partners and Development Partners through existing frameworks, Plans of Action (POAs) and development cooperation programmes. We acknowledge with appreciation the contribution of these partnerships to ASEAN Community-building efforts. We looked forward to the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-Republic of Korea (ROK) Dialogue Relations in November in Busan, Republic of Korea this year to further strengthen the partnership between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea.
We took note of the growing interests from countries and regional organisations outside of the region to engage and develop stronger cooperation with ASEAN including through the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN with the 91 Ambassadors of non-ASEAN Member States accredited to ASEAN (NAAAs). We noted that ASEAN’s partnerships with external partners as well as international and regional organisations are vital to address global issues and to promote sustainable development for the benefit of our people. We also welcomed the role of the ASEAN Committees in Third Countries and International Organisations to promote ASEAN’s interest and forge partnerships in the respective host countries and international organisations. We also welcomed the presence of two ASEAN Member States, Indonesia and Viet Nam, as non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and looked forward to the further strengthening of the ASEAN-UN comprehensive partnership and cooperation.
We underscored the important role of the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) cooperation framework, in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in East Asian region.We reaffirmed our commitment to further strengthening and deepening the APT process which plays a key role in regional community building efforts with ASEAN as the driving force. We agreed to further strengthen APT cooperation by implementing the APT Cooperation Work Plan 2018-2022. We also look forward to the continued implementation of the East Asia Vision Group II recommendations aimed at promoting cooperation in East Asia.
We reaffirmed our commitment to further strengthen the EAS as a Leaders-led forum for dialogue on broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region, in line with the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the 10th Anniversary of the EAS and based on the established objectives, principles and modalities of the EAS. We agreed to further strengthen the EAS by implementing the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative (2018-2022). We welcomed the continued discussions and efforts to strengthen the EAS. We encouraged creating synergy between the EAS and other ASEAN-led mechanisms, and noted the need to strengthen EAS cooperation in response to emerging issues and challenges that affect peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
We reaffirmed the important role of the ARF as a prime platform for cooperation and constructive dialogue on political and security issues of common concern in the AsiaPacific region. We noted the continuation of practical activities under the ARF areas of cooperation towards the full implementation of the 2010 ARF Hanoi Plan of Action to Implement the ARF Vision Statement.
REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS
We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea and recognised the benefits of having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity. We underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety. We warmly welcomed the continued improving cooperation between ASEAN and China and were encouraged by the progress of the substantive negotiations towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) within a mutually-agreed timeline. We welcomed efforts to complete the first reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text by this year. We emphasised the need to maintain an environment conducive to the COC negotiations, and thus welcomed practical measures that could reduce tensions and the risk of accidents, misunderstandings and miscalculation. We stressed the importance of undertaking confidence building and preventive measures to enhance, among others, trust and confidence amongst parties.
We discussed the matters relating to the South China Sea and took note of some concerns on the land reclamations and activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region. We reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise selfrestraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. We emphasised the importance of non-militarisation and selfrestraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states, including those mentioned in the DOC that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea.
We stressed the importance of continued peaceful dialogue amongst all parties concerned in order to realise lasting peace and stability in a denuclearised Korean Peninsula and welcomed the initiatives and efforts by ROK, the United States, and China to promote dialogue with the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK). We urged all concerned parties to resume peaceful dialogue and continue working towards the realisation of lasting peace and stability in a denuclearised Korean Peninsula, including through the full and expeditious implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration, the Pyongyang Joint Declaration and the Joint Statement by the US and DPRK leaders. We reiterated our commitment to the full implementation of all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and noted international efforts to bring about the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. We also underscored the importance of ASEAN-led platforms such as the ARF in promoting a conducive atmosphere to peaceful dialogue amongst the parties concerned.
We adopted the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific which will help guide ASEAN’s engagement and cooperation in the wider Indo-Pacific region. We reaffirmed ASEAN centrality, inclusiveness, complementarities, a rules-based order anchored upon international law, and commitment to advancing economic engagement in the region as the main principles of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. In this regard, ASEAN-led mechanisms can serve as platforms for dialogue and implementation of Indo-Pacific cooperation. We encouraged external partners to support and undertake cooperation with ASEAN on the key areas outlined in the Outlook as their contribution to maintaining peace, freedom and prosperity in the region. We commended the efforts taken by all ASEAN Member States, in particular Indonesia for taking the lead in this regard, in finalising the Outlook which embodies ASEAN unity, centrality and leadership in the evolving regional architecture.
We expressed appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia for providing ASEAN Secretariat’s new premises. We looked forward to the inauguration of the new building on 8 August 2019 in conjunction with the 52nd Anniversary of the founding of ASEAN. We looked forward to the convening of more meetings at the new premises which will not only strengthen ties, but also enhance ASEAN’s mission to promote ASEAN Centrality to the global community.