PostHeaderIcon Chairman's Statement of the 2nd Meeting of the ASE

CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT
THE SECOND MEETING OF THE ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM

Brunei Darussalam, 1 August 1995
 

1. The Second ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was held on 1 August 1995 in Bandar Seri Begawan. The Meeting was chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam.

2. The Forum was attended by all ARF participants. The Secretary-General of ASEAN was also present.

3. The Ministers welcomed Cambodia to the ARF.

4. The Ministers expressed their satisfaction at the level of stability in the Asia Pacific Region. They noted the ways in which cooperative relationships were developing constructively. In this regard, the Ministers noted the many positive steps taken since the first ARF in Bangkok in July 1994, particularly those which built confidence and created greater transparency. In this respect, they noted the participants' willingness to address substantive security issues in a spirit of mutual respect, equality and cooperation.

5. The Ministers expressed their appreciation for the consultations conducted by the Chairman of ARF, Brunei Darussalam, with ARF participants to obtain their views in preparation for the ARF. Based on the inputs and proposals, ASEAN has produced "The ASEAN Regional Forum - A Concept Paper", as annexed .

6. The Ministers considered and endorsed the Report of the Chairman of the ARF-SOM. In particular, they adopted the following proposals in the context of the Concept Paper:


A. GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS

  • The ARF participants shall continue to work closely to ensure and preserve the current environment of peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia Pacific;
  • The ARF shall continue to be a forum for open dialogue and consultation on regional political and security issues, to discuss and reconcile the differing views between ARF participants in order to reduce the risk to security; and
  • The ARF recognises that the concept of comprehensive security includes not only military aspects but also political, economic, social and other issues.

B. METHOD AND APPROACH

  • A successful-ARF requires the active, full and equal participation and cooperation of all participants. However, ASEAN undertakes the obligation to be the primary driving force;
  • The ARF process shall move at a pace comfortable to all participants;
  • The approach shall be evolutionary, taking place in three broad stages, namely the promotion of confidence building, development of preventive diplomacy and elaboration of approaches to conflicts. The ARF process is now at Stage I, and shall continue to discuss means of implementing confidence building. Stage II, particularly where the subject matter overlap, can proceed in tandem with Stage I. Discussions will continue regarding the incorporation of elaboration of approaches to conflicts, as an eventual goal, into the ARF process.
  • Decisions of the ARF shall be made through consensus after careful and extensive consultations among all participants.

C. PARTICIPATION

  • The participants of the ARF comprise ASEAN Member States, Observers, Consultative and Dialogue Partners of ASEAN. Any new application should be submitted to the Chairman of the ARF who will then consult the other ARF participants; and
  • To request the next Chairman, to study the question of future participation and develop the criteria for the consideration of the Third ARF through the ARF-SOM.

      

D. ORGANISATION OF THE ARF

  • There shall be an annual ARF in the context of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Post Ministerial Conferences to be preceded by ARF-SOM;
  • The ARF process would move along two tracks. Track one activities will be carried out by ARF governments. Track Two activities shall be carried out by strategic institutes and relevant non-governmental organisations to which all ARF participants should be eligible. To be meaningful and relevant, the ARF Chairman shall ensure that Track Two activities as indicated in ANNEX B result from full consultations with all ARF participants; and
  • The ARF shall be apprised of all Track One and Track Two activities through the current Chairman of the ARF, who will be the main link between Track One and Track Two.

      

E. IMPLEMENTATION OF IDEAS AND PROPOSALS

  • In order to assist the Chairman of the ARF-SOM to consider and make recommendations to the ARF on the implementation of the proposals agreed by the ARF participants as indicated in ANNEX A of the Concept Paper, the following shall be convened at the inter-governmental level:

1.Inter-sessional Support Group (ISG) on Confidence Building, in particular, dialogue on security perceptions and defence policy papers; and
2.Inter-sessional Meetings (ISMs) on Cooperative Activities including inter-alia, Peacekeeping.
      

  • ISG and ISMs shall be governed the following by guidelines:

1. ISG and ISMs shall be co-chaired by ASEAN and non-ASEAN participants;
2. ISG and ISMs shall be held in between ARF-SOMS; and
3.Findings of the ISG and ISMs shall be presented to the ARF-SOM in Indonesia in 1996. The possible continuation of the mandate of the ISG and ISMs shall be reviewed at that time.

7. In this regard the Ministers agreed that Indonesia would co-chair the ISGs on CBMs with Japan; Malaysia would co-chair the ISMs on Peacekeeping Operations with Canada; and Singapore would co-chair the ISMs Seminar on Search and Rescue Coordination and Cooperation with the United States.

8. The Ministers also agreed on the following:

  • to encourage all ARF countries to enhance their dialogues and consultations on political and security cooperation including exchanges on security perceptions on a bilateral, sub-regional and regional basis;
  • for the ARF countries to submit to the ARF or ARF-SOM, on a voluntary basis, an annual statement of their defence policy;
  • on the benefits of increased high level contacts and exchanges between military academies, staff colleges and training; and
  • to take note of the increased participation in the UN conventional Arms Register since the first ARF and encourage those not yet participating to soon do so.

9.  The Ministers expressed the view that their endorsement of such specific ideas and proposals provided sufficient direction for the ARF process at this stage. They also reaffirmed their belief that the Asia Pacific Region-currently had an historically unprecedented opportunity to establish and consolidate long term conditions for peace and stability.

10. The Ministers also received the reports of the following seminars on Building of Confidence and Trust in the Asia Pacific, held in November 1994 in Canberra, Australia; Seminar on Peacekeeping: Challenges and opportunities for the ASEAN Regional Forum, held in March 1995 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam ; Seminar on Preventive Diplomacy, held in May 1995, Seoul, Republic of Korea. They commended the hosts and sponsors of those seminars for their efforts and agreed that the arrangements under the Track Two process should continue. They also noted the Russian offer to host a Track Two seminar in Spring of 1996 on the proposed Principles of Security an Stability in the Asia-Pacific : Region. They also commended bilateral and multilateral, governmental and on-governmental consultations and seminars in the Asia Pacific region including the Indonesian Workshop (co-sponsored by Canada) series on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea as a useful means of enhancing dialogue and cooperation.

11. Noting the overall stable environment and many areas of ongoing regional cooperation, the Ministers exchanged views on regional security issues, and highlighted the following:

  • expressed concern on overlapping sovereignty claims in the region. They encouraged all claimants to reaf firm their commitment to the principles contained in relevant international laws and convention, and the ASEAN's 1992 Declaration on the South China Sea;
  • recognized that the Korean Peninsula issue has a direct bearing on peace and security in the Asia-Pacific. They welcomed the recent US-DPRK talks held in Kuala Lumpur and expressed the hope that this would lead to the full implementation of the Agreed Framework of 21 October 1994. The Ministers urged the resumption of dialogue between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and believed that it would assist in the successful implementation of the Agreed Framework and the maintenance of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. The ministers also recognised the importance which international support for the Korean Peninsula. The Ministers also recognised the importance which international support for the Korean Peninsula Energy Organisation (KEDO) has for the implementation of the Agreed Framework;
  • expressed their support for the efforts of the Royal Government of Cambodia to achieve security, promote national stability and economic recovery; and
  • emphasised the importance of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in promoting regional peace and stability. They welcomed the commitment by all parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to conclude a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by 1996. Those countries who plan to conduct further nuclear tests were called upon by all other ARF member states to bring immediate end to such testing. They also endorsed the nuclear-weapon free zones, such as the SouthPacific Nuclear Free Zone, in strengthening the international non-proliferation regime and expressed the hope that all nuclear weapon states would in the very near future adhere to the relevant Protocols. They noted with satisfaction the progress made towards the establishment of the South East Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone and encouraged further consultations on this issue with those states that would be significantly affected by the establishment of the zone.