PostHeaderIcon Report of the Co-Chair of the ARF Inter-sessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures, Vientiane, Lao PDR, 26-28 March 2003

Co-Chairs' Summary Report of the Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum Inter-sessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures
Vientiane, Lao PDR, 26-28 March 2003

 

Introduction

1. Pursuant to the decision of the 9th Ministerial Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held in Brunei Darussalam on 31 July 2002 and the first Inter-sessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures (ISG on CBMs), held in Wellington on 20-22 November 2002, the second Inter-sessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures (ISG on CBMs) was held in Vientiane on 26-28 March 2003 and co-chaired by the Lao People's Democratic Republic and New Zealand.

2. Representatives from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, United States of America and Viet Nam attended the Meeting. Consistent with the ARF goal of increasing the participation of defence and military officials in all relevant meetings and activities, most delegations included defence officials. An ARF Defence Officials' Meeting was held on 25 March. The Agenda of the Meetings is attached as ANNEX A, the Programme of Activities as ANNEX B and the List of Participants as ANNEX C.

3. Pursuant to the First ISG Meeting, 20-22 November 2002, in Wellington New Zealand, the second Inter-sessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures (ISG on CBMs), held in Vientiane on 26-28 March 2003, discussed the following:

 

Review of the Outcome of the 1st ISG on CBMs Meeting in Wellington and Interim Activities

4. The New Zealand Co-Chair briefed the Meeting on the outcomes of the 1st ISG on CBMs, held in Wellington on 20-22 November 2002. The Co-Chair Summary Report of the Meeting is attached as ANNEX D.

5. There was an extensive exchange of views among participants on the political and security developments in the region and beyond since the ARF ISG on CBMs Meeting in New Zealand. The discussions were held in an open and free flowing manner and covered a range of issues which had an impact on the region as a whole.

6. In the review of the regional and international. political and security situation, the issue of terrorism remained a significant focus for participants. They noted some successes in the global campaign against terrorism since the November ISG on CBMs Meeting, but emphasised the need for continuing vigilance against the terrorist threat and for ongoing efforts to strengthen international cooperation to counter that threat. They reaffirmed their determination to persevere in a collective and concerted global campaign against terrorism.

7. Participants noted with grave concern the worsening situation on the Korean peninsula. They urged the DPRK to resume its cooperation with the IAEA and to reverse its decision to withdraw from the NPT, and supported all efforts to achieve a peaceful diplomatic settlement. Participants called for a nuclear weapon-free Korean peninsula. Some participants called upon the DPRK to honour its commitment to give up nuclear weapon programmes. The Meeting reaffirmed the importance of a constructive role by the ARF in seeking a peaceful resolution of this issue, and expressed appreciation for the efforts made by the ARF Chair. Participants also recognised the importance of inter-Korea and Japan-DPRK dialogues as channels to pursue peaceful resolution of outstanding security concern in the area.

8. Participants expressed regret that the DPRK was not represented at the ISG Meetings and expressed the hope that it would participate in future ARF Meetings including the forthcoming ARF Senior Officials and Ministerial Meetings.

9. Participants took note of the situation in Iraq and expressed regret that, despite extensive diplomatic efforts to secure Iraq's compliance with UN Security Council resolutions on fulfilling its disarmament obligation, the dispute had not been resolved by diplomatic means. They emphasised the importance of making every effort to minimise the sufferings of innocent civilians and to bring hostilities to an end in the shortest possible time. Some participants expressed concern about the potential impact of protracted conflict on regional security, including in the region covered by ARF. Some participants noted the continuing importance of the UN role and the international agencies in responding to the situation in Iraq.

10. The Meeting noted the risks to stability, including the potential for transnational crime and terrorism to gain a foothold also in the Pacific region. The circumstances were different from country to country and allowed for no quick fix or single solution. Particularly in Melanesia there was a need for capacity building to develop effective law enforcement and border control legislation.  It was noted that several ARF Members were working with the Forum Secretariat, and other donors to assist Pacific island countries in this area.

11. The Meeting had a frank discussion on the situation in Myanmar and expressed their appreciation of and support for the efforts of the UNSG Special Representative Razali. They noted the co-operation extended to the UN Special, Rapporteur on Human Rights on his visits to Myanmar, and co-operation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the country. The Meeting encouraged further progress in the process of national reconciliation and a shared commitment by all to an intensified dialogue aimed at national unity, a restoration of democracy and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

12. Participants welcomed the continued commitment of parties concerned to implement the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and China at the ASEAN-China Summit in Phnom Penh in November 2002.

13. The Meeting welcomed ASEAN efforts in ensuring Regional peace and security, deepening economic co-operation and integration, combating terrorism and transnational crimes, and strengthening economic linkages with ASEAN's dialogue partners as reaffirmed by ASEAN Leaders at the 8th ASEAN Summit, held in Phnom Penh in November 2002.

14. Participants also noted developments outside the region. They were encouraged by the progress towards rebuilding and reconciliation in Afghanistan and expressed support for the provision of humanitarian and reconstruction assistance there.

15. The meeting flagged its support for the ongoing peace process in Sri Lanka and welcomed the contribution of ARF members in support of post conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction. ARF Members agreed to use their influence to further advance the peace process and to bring the different stakeholders in the process together.

16. The meeting welcomed Timor Leste' s adherence to democratic values, the rule of law and human rights principles, and encouraged the further regional integration of Timor Leste.

17. The Meeting discussed disarmament issues from the perspective of the ARF region. It recalled that Ministers in Brunei in July 2002 had noted that preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery directly engaged the region's fundamental security interests. Most participants reaffirmed the importance of ensuring the universality of core disarmament treaties: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC).

18. Participants welcomed continuing work in a number of fields relating to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, including launching conference in The Hague, on 25-26 November 2002 of the International Code of Conduct against the proliferation of ballistic missiles.

19. The importance of strict measures to control weapons of mass destruction and their components materials was addressed. In this context emphasis was placed on exports of military goods and dual-use technologies to ensure denial to terrorists of access to weapons and related technologies. Participants referred to the UN-sponsored process on illicit trade in small arms and light weapons for its relevance in the region and agreed to continue exploring measures at the national and regional level to address this problem.

20. Participants reaffirmed that recent terrorist attacks in ARF countries underlined the importance of participants fulfilling their individual and collective commitments to multilateral cooperation in the field of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Participants underscored continuing concern for disarmament issues, acknowledged new dimensions to these issues, and understanding of the need to attend to them, even while acting to meet the urgent challenge of terrorism. They agreed to continue their discussions on non- proliferation, disarmament and arms control in future ISGs.

 

Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime of Concern to the Region

21. The Meeting noted the Report of the ARF-Intersessional Meeting on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (ISM-CT-TC), held in Karambunai, Sabah, Malaysia from 21 to 22 March 2003 presented on Malaysia which appears as ANNEX E.  The Meeting was co-chaired by Malaysia and the United States and was attended by Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia Federation, Singapore, Thailand, United States of America and Viet Nam. Participants conveyed a positive initial assessment of the Meeting. Noting that the ISM's future would be determined at the ARF SOM on 30 April 2003, participants supported continuing meetings of the ISM on CT-TC.

22. The Meeting noted that the ARF-Intersessional Meeting on Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime had discussed the following matters:

a) Terrorist Organisations, Recent Terrorist Activities and Counter Terrorism Measures;

b) Counter Terrorism-Border Security: Movement of People;

c) Counter terrorism-Border Security: Movement of Goods; and

d) Counter Terrorism-Border Security: Document Security.

 

23. The Meeting also noted the following:

a) the establishment of Southeast Asia regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT) reported by Malaysia (ANNEX F);

b) the recommendation to the ARF SOM to consider continuing with ISM CT-TC for 2003/04 and identification of Co-Chairs for submission to the 10th ARF Ministerial Meeting for consideration.

24. The participants agreed there was an urgent need for more concrete cooperation among ARF participants to counter the threat of terrorism and welcomed recommendations from the ARF Ministerial Meeting to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation. Participants welcomed the increased cooperation that was already being undertaken in the areas of information and intelligence-sharing, cooperation among law enforcement agencies and financial measures against terrorism and that this was a necessary tool to combat terrorism effectively.

25. There was agreement that early accession by all ARF participants to all 'UN Conventions and Protocols against terrorism, as called for by UNSC 1373, and effective implementation of these obligations, would assist in fighting terrorism and would also constitute a confidence building measure. It was also agreed that ARF participants should further strengthen and enhance their cooperation to this end.

26. An amended draft ARF Chairman's Statement on Cooperation Against Piracy and Other Threats to Maritime Security was tabled and discussed (ANNEX G).  Participants concurred that threats to maritime security were a serious concern. They agreed to forward it to ARF SOM for consideration.

27. Singapore briefed the Meeting on the outcome of the workshop on counter terrorism financing in Singapore on 21-22 January 2003. The Meeting also noted that Singapore would hold the following Training Workshops in the coming months under the AMM-TC Framework:

a) Aviation Security in July 2003 (project concept appears as ANNEX H)

b) Intelligence Analysis in August 2003;

c) Post Blast Investigation in October 2003; and

d) Bomb and Explosives Identification in November 2003.

28. Australia and Singapore briefed the Meeting on a workshop on Managing the consequences of a major terrorist attack, to be held in Darwin, Australia on 3-5 June 2003. The workshop's key objectives would be to lay the basis for a common understanding among ARF members of the complex issues involved in managing the consequences of a major terrorist attack including one involving chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear weapons (C/B/R/N), and to consider the scope for further practical cooperation for those agencies most directly involved in preparing for any future major terrorist attack in the region. The workshop would contribute to the ARF's developing focus on specific practical areas of cooperation in responding to the terrorist threat. To maximise the practical outcomes of the workshop and to lay the basis for future cooperation and collaboration, Australia and Singapore encouraged participation by representatives of emergency response, civil defence, aid and police/law enforcement agencies as well as Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs.

29. Japan explained its proposal for an "ARF Dossier on Counter-Terrorism Measures" by circulating a sample document attached as ANNEX I.

30. The Meeting agreed that transnational crimes, including terrorism, trafficking, trafficking in human beings, money laundering and cyber crime continued to pose challenges to the peace and security of the region and that the subject of transnational crime should have high priority on the ARF's agenda. Participants agreed that all these issues were intrinsically linked to each other and to the counter-terrorism agenda.

31. Indonesia briefed the Meeting on the outcomes of the ASEAN Workshop on Combating Terrorism, held in Jakarta on 20-22 February 2003. Indonesia further informed that two Indonesia proposals: ASEAN Collaboration on Post Terrorist Attack and Extradition and/or Handing Over of Terrorist Suspect will be further discussed at the 3rd Annual SOM-TC Meeting scheduled in June 2003 in Ha Noi. The Meeting also noted that Indonesia will convened the Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking of Persons and Related Transnational Crime (BRMC) II in Bali on 28-30 April 2003 under the Co-Chairmanship of Indonesia and Australia.

 

Consideration of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs)

32. The Meeting took note of the implementation of agreed CBMs and reports by organising countries on the following activities:

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Seminar, Singapore December 2002. (ANNEX J)

Workshop on Maritime Security Challenges, India February/March 2003 (ANNEX K).

33. The Meeting revised the list of proposed CBM activities, removing those already implemented and adding new proposed CBMs to Basket 1. The proposed revision to the list is at Annex L

34. The Meeting received draft Concept Papers for the following proposed CBMs:

The United States proposed to hold an ARF Workshop on Civilian-Military Relations and the Rule of Law (ANNEX M).

The United States put forward a proposal for ARF Participation in the UN Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures and Circulation of Submissions among ARF Members (ANNEX N ).

35. Malaysia advised the Meeting that its proposal on a CBM on travel advisories would not proceed at this time.

36. Participants welcomed the production of the ARF Register of CBMs and agreed that it should be updated and re-issued before each ARF meeting. New Zealand agreed to assist future ISG co-Chairs in this task. It was agreed that the register should also include on-going ARF CBMs. A database CD-Rom containing the register was distributed by to all delegations at the Meeting.

37. The meeting was briefed on the Second Sub committee of the Tokyo Defence Forum on 28-30 January 2003, and noted that Japan would host the 8th Tokyo Defence Forum in 2003.

38. The ARF Chair encouraged participants to submit their Annual Security Outlook papers as quickly as possible.

 

Future Direction of ARF

39. Following the guidance given by Ministers for discussions on-the future direction of the ARF and the nine recommendations of the stock-take paper agreed at the Brunei Ministerial on achievements and shortfalls of the ARF, participants discussed the recommendations for strengthening cooperation against terrorism. The Meeting carried forward discussions on assisting the ARF Chair through the ASEAN Secretariat, developing the Register of Experts and Eminent Persons, strengthening CBMs, boosting the involvement of defence officials in the ARF process, enl1ancing linkages with Track II and other organisations and providing substantive follow-up to the ARF's work on preventive diplomacy.

40. The Meeting complimented the ARF Chair on efforts made to enhance the role of the Chair. Participants noted a paper on possible role for the ASEAN Secretariat in assisting the ARF Chairman to co-ordinate the work of the ARF attached as ANNEX O.  Participants also discussed how to improve the process of informal consultations by the Chair with other regional and international organisations.

41. The Meeting considered a discussion paper from Canada on strengthening linkages between Track I and Track II in the ARF context (ANNEX P) and noted the conclusions of the Track II counter-terrorism workshop organised by IDSS Singapore and CSCAP Canada in Vientiane on 25 March 2003 (ANNEX Q).  Participants recommended that efforts continue to enhance Track I-II linkages including though the organisation of appropriate adjacent and complementary Track I-II Meetings at future ISG. To this end, they asked the present incoming ISG Co-Chair and ARF Chair to consider arranging additional Track II meetings in association with upcoming ISG.

42. The Meeting welcomed the circulation of the first ARF Register of Experts and Eminent Persons at the ARF Ministerial Meeting and discussed further the development and utilisation of the Register. Participants considered a concept paper from the Republic of Korea on Guidelines for the Operation of the EEPs and presented revised Draft Guidelines (ANNEX R).  Members were invited to submit further comments, with a view to finalising these Guidelines at the ARF Senior Officials Meeting in April 2003.

43. Participants agreed that good progress had been made with implementing Ministers' recommendations for the future direction of the ARF. Advancing work on these practical measures represented substantive follow-up to the ARF's work on preventive diplomacy. In this context, Japan proposed a workshop on preventive diplomacy to be held in February 2004 (ANNEX S)

 

Other Matters

44. The meeting took note of the following voluntary briefings made by ARF participants:

  • Australia's White Paper on Advancing the National Interest;
  • Australia's National Security: A Defence Update 2003;
  • China's Defence White Paper;
  • Indonesia's offer to host the Asia Africa Sub-Regional Organisations Conference (AASROC) on 16-17 April 2004 in Bandung, Indonesia;
  • New Zealand, informed the Meeting about the ICRC's interest in engaging a constructive partnership with ARF. The letter from ICRC appears as ANNEX T
  • Russia's Federation's "The Problems of Strategic Stability" (ANNEX U)
  • Thailand's Participation in Regional Peace Keeping;
  • Status of Republic of Korea Support for the War Against Terrorism (ANNEX V)
  • Japan's decision to expand contribution of supplies and services for countries operating under OEF in addition to USA and UK.

 

Report of Defence Officials Meeting for Co-chairs' Report

45. The second formal Defence Officials Meeting (DOM) was held following the Defence Officials Lunch on 25 March 2003. Major General Saway Xayasena; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Defence opened the meeting with some general remarks of welcome, followed by the Lao co-chair giving a presentation on civil-military relations within Lao society. There then followed a discussion on the role of defence forces in the region in meeting current security challenges. Some common themes emerged such as the upsurge in terrorism and transnational crime and the discussion raised issues faced by all countries as they contemplated the current strategic environment. The Report second Formal Defence Officials Meeting (DOM) and Singapore's draft on Defence Dialogue Within the ARF are attached as ANNEX W and X.

46. Some very worthwhile voluntary briefings were given on a range of topics including current updates on strategic level defence policy documents and contributions to regional security cooperation initiatives. Reports were given on several CBMs held over the past year and the meeting was advised of upcoming events. It was agreed that ARF Defence Dialogue, as an integral component of the ARF process, should now consider the way forward to ensure that its contribution continues to complement and add value to that process.

47. The Meeting noted that Timor Leste's application for ARF membership was to be referred to the ARF Chair for consultations with ARF participants ahead of the ARF Senior Officials' 'and Ministerial Meetings.

 

Arrangements for the 1st and 2nd ARF ISG on CBMs Meetings in 2003-2004

48. Participants welcomed the offer of China and Myanmar to Co-Chair the next ARF ISG on CBMs respectively in 2003/2004. The Date and Venue of the 1st and 2nd ARF ISG on CBMs Meetings for 2003/2004 would be communicated to ARF Member Countries at appropriate time. The Meeting welcomed the interest expressed by EU to Co-Chair ISG on CBMs in 2004/2005.