JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE WITH PRIME MINISTER JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI OF JAPAN AND PRESIDENT MEGAWATI SOEKARNOPUTRI OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA AT THE JAPAN-ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS (ASEAN) COMMEMORATIVE SUMMIT
12 December 2003
I. Opening remarks by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan: We invited all of the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to Japan this time and held this commemorative summit of Japan and ASEAN countries. I understand that this is the first ASEAN summit meeting to be held outside the ASEAN region in a dialogue partner country. This indeed has been a historic meeting, and this indeed has been singular honor for Japan.
In the meeting, we engaged in a very candid exchange of views. To date, Japan has attached importance to ASEAN. This building on the results of Japan-ASEAN relations achieved over the past three decades, I expressed my clear commitment that this policy of Japan attaching importance to ASEAN will remain unchanged. This stance was welcomed by the ASEAN leaders.
Over the past two days, we discussed the future of Japan-ASEAN relations from broad perspectives and we reaffirmed that we shall further develop our relations as sincere and open partners that act together and advance together and make sure that our relations will continue to grow ever closer.
Today we signed the Tokyo Declaration in which we evinced the direction we should take in Japan-ASEAN relations in the new era. The plan of action that accompanies the Tokyo Declaration lists more than 100 concrete cooperative measures that range from economic and development areas to political security and social and cultural areas. When these measures are implemented, the relations between Japan and ASEAN, the bond that ties Japan and ASEAN, will grow even stronger.
In response to fervent calls from ASEAN countries, Japan this time signed the declaration of the intent to accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) of Southeast Asia. This again is nothing less than an expression of Japan's determination to act together and advance together with ASEAN.
ASEAN needs to integration and continue to develop in the interest of Asia's peace and prosperity. Japan made clear from this perspective its stance that it will continue to attach importance to development cooperation with ASEAN.
Especially in human resources development, I explained that Japan is prepared to provide cooperation amounting to more than US$1.5 billion over the coming three years. As a result, the exchanges of people between Japan and ASEAN involved in human resources development is anticipated to reach 40,000 persons during the same period.
With regard to the Mekong sub-region development, we shall note the step-up of cooperation integrating economic cooperation and trade and investment promotion. We also explained that we anticipate cooperation amounting to US$1.5 billion during that three-year period.
We believe that an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between ASEAN countries and Japan is a demand of the times and we need to achieve that with a sense of speediness. I believe that to launch negotiations with the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of the Philippines and Malaysia was a major step forward as we try to move ahead with economic partnership with ASEAN as well.
We also agreed that we need to strengthen our regional cooperation in response to transnational issues such as terrorism, piracy and trafficking in persons, and make peace and stability in this region more certain. Thus we need to further strengthen broad-ranging partnership between Japan and ASEAN and play a central role in building an East Asian community. I believe the commemorative summit this time was indeed a very fruitful one and I am convinced that historians in the future will see this as a historic meeting symbolizing the Japan-ASEAN relations that have progressed to a new phase and the ever-deepening regional cooperation in East Asia centering on these relations.
President Megawati Soekarnoputri of the Republic of Indonesia was kind enough to co-chair the meeting this time. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to President Megawati and also to the kind cooperation and friendship expressed by the ASEAN leaders. Also, I would like to say that the meeting concluded smoothly and was a very fruitful one thanks to the outstanding chairpersonship of President Megawati. Thank you very much.
President Megawati Soekarnoputri of Indonesia: Thank you very much, Prime Minister Koizumi, for giving me the floor. Let me begin by expressing our thanks to the Prime Minister of Japan for hosting this historical summit between ASEAN and Japan. We have had very fruitful discussion on the overall ASEAN-Japan relations as well as on the future direction of our relations.
In the past three decades, ASEAN and Japan have developed a mutually beneficial partnership and cooperation which continue to deepen and widen. Let me reaffirm that the ASEAN-Japan long-standing relations and cooperation have contributed significantly to the peace and prosperity of the people in Southeast Asia as well as in the wider region of East Asia and the Asia-Pacific.
Although our relationship is in a good state, nevertheless the dynamic global and regional environments require ASEAN and Japan to work together even more closely. Globalization and greater interdependence among countries in the world presented ASEAN and Japan with new opportunities and new challenges. To take the opportunities and overcome the challenges, we will further strengthen our relations in a comprehensive manner.
Through the discussions, we note a desire to consolidate our cooperation in the political and security fields. International terrorism poses a deadly threat to our regional security, and therefore, we must work together to overcome this threat. We also welcome the plan of accession of Japan to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. We believe that by Japan sharing these common rules of good conduct, it will greatly contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.
We have also discussed ways and means to foster closer economic cooperation between ASEAN and Japan. Japan has been and will continue to be the most important economic partner of ASEAN. We therefore agreed to develop a broad-based economic partnership underpinned by the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement to develop deeper understanding among our people, and we agreed to further promote greater people-to-people interaction through education and exchange of people.
ASEAN and Japan will also work closely in promoting East Asian cooperation through the ASEAN+3 cooperation framework with the ultimate aim to develop an East Asian community. Considering the progress of our relations, we commit ourselves to deepen and expand our partnership as outlined in the Tokyo Declaration and plan of action which we signed this afternoon. We believe that this declaration, its plan of action and its strengthened implementing mechanism will serve as foundations for other future cooperation, especially to face the new challenges in the 21st century.