THE THIRD ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM
JAKARTA, 23 JULY 1996
The Third ASEAN Regional Forum was held in Jakarta on 23 July 1996. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Ali Alatas, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.
The Meeting was attended by all ARF participants. The Secretary General of ASEAN was also present.
The Ministers recalled the decision of the Second ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial Meeting in Brunei Darussalam in July 1995, requesting the Chairman of the ARF to study the question of future participation and to develop a set of criteria for such participation for the consideration of the Third ARF through the ARF-SOM.
The Meeting noted with appreciation the round of consultations made by the Chairman with the representatives of ARF participants to obtain their views on the matter. On the basis of the inputs and comments received, the Chairman had prepared a paper on criteria for participation in the ARF.
In this regard, the Ministers considered the guiding principles and criteria suggested in the Chairman's Paper on Criteria for Participation in the ARF as recommended by the ARF-SOM and agreed on the following:
i. Any new participant must subscribe to and work cooperatively to help achieve ARF's key goals. As stated in the ARF Concept Paper (which was annexed to the Chairman's Statement of 1 August 1995), the main challenge of the ARF is to sustain and enhance the unprecedented period of peace and prosperity now enjoyed by the Asia-Pacific region. All participants should work to develop an agenda which focuses on the security concerns of the Asia-Pacific region.
ii. The ARF should only admit participants that can directly affect the peace and security of the region on which the ARF shall focus its peace-building and peace making efforts. As the Asia-Pacific region could theoretically cover a large part of the world's surface (including the two American continents), it would be wise to spell out clearly the specific region - or the "geographical footprint" - that the ARF will concentrate on. It is clear that there is already an implicit consensus among ARF participants that this "geographical footprint" will cover all of East Asia, both Northeast and Southeast Asia, as well as Oceania. In the short term, it would not be wise to expand this geographical scope for the key ARF activities. (Some ARF activities, for example, Cooperation on Search and Rescue, will cover the larger Asia Pacific region and not just East Asia).
iii. The ARF should expand carefully and cautiously. As the ARF process is barely three years old, it would be advisable to consolidate the ARF process before expanding it rapidly. Each new participant must be admitted on the firm understanding that its participation is necessary for the ARF to accomplish its key goals.
iv. All questions regarding participation should be decided by consultations among all ARF participants. As stated in the Chairman's Statement of 1 August 1995, "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 following paragraph states "The ARF process shall move at a pace comfortable to all participants". These statements suggest that regarding ARF participation the ARF will have to take into consideration both the views of all the participants and the special needs and interests of the ASEAN States. Hence, all members of ASEAN shall automatically become participants of ARF.
(Note: The founding fathers of ASEAN agreed in 1967 that ASEAN will eventually become a community of ten, encompassing all Southeast Asian States).
Bearing these principles in mind, the ARF participants agree that the criteria for new participants should be as follows
i) Commitment :
All new participants, who will all be sovereign states, must subscribe to, and work cooperatively to help achieve the ARF's key goals. Prior to their admission, all new participants should agree to abide by and respect fully the decisions and statements already made by the ARF. All ASEAN members are automatically participants of ARF.
A new participant should be admitted only if it can be demonstrated that it has an impact on the peace and security of the "geographical footprint" of key ARF activities (i.e. Northeast and Southeast Asia as well as Oceania).
iii) Gradual expansion :
Efforts must be made to control the number of participants to a manageable level to ensure the effectiveness of the ARF.
All applications for participation should be submitted to the Chairman of the ARF, who will consult all the other ARF participants at the SOM and ascertain whether a consensus exists for the admission of the new participant. Actual decisions on participation will be approved by the Ministers.
6. The Ministers welcomed India and Myamnar joining the ARF as new participants and took note of their express commitment to help achieve the ARF's key goals and to abide by and respect fully the decisions and statements already made by the ARF.
7. The Meeting discussed a wide range of issues relevant to the question of peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region. In this context, they highlighted the following:
(i) The signing of the SEANWFZ Treaty by all Heads of Government of Southeast Asia countries in Bangkok in December 1995 signifies another important contribution of the countries of Southeast Asia to the strengths of the security in the region and to the maintenance of world peace and stability. This is consistent with the 1995 NPT Review welcoming the development of further nuclear weapons free zones.
(ii) Nuclear testing remains a concern in the region. The Meeting welcomed the end of nuclear testing in the South Pacific and confirmed their understanding that the Asia Pacific region would shortly be free of nuclear testing. The Meeting called upon all states participating in the Conference on Disarmament, in particular the nuclear weapons states, to conclude, as a task of the highest priority, a universal and multilaterally effectively verifiable comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty which contributes to nuclear disarmament and the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects so as to enable its signature by the outset of the fifty-first session of the UNGA. The Meeting expressed the hope that the on-going negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament to be reconvened on 29 July 1996 would lead to a CTBT which would receive the support of all concerned parties.
(iii) With reference to the issue of the global elimination of anti-personnel mines, the Meeting welcomed the decisions of several states to impose moratoria and ban on the production, export and operational use of these weapons. The Meeting recognized the need, following conflict, for reinforcing international support for efforts to detect and remove landmines and to assist victims.
(iv) On the South China Sea, the Meeting welcomed the efforts by countries concerned to seek solutions by peaceful means in accordance with international law in general and with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 in particular. The Meeting also noted the positive contributions made by the Workshop Series on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea.
(v) Bearing in mind the importance of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, the Meeting stressed the need to establish a peace mechanism and also emphasized that the 1953 Armistice Agreement until then should remain valid. The Meeting reiterated the importance of the resumption of dialogue between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea. The Meeting noted the importance of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and encouraged ARF participants to consider giving further financial and political support to KEDO.
8. The Ministers considered the Track One and Track Two activities since the Second ARF in Bandar Seri Begawan.
9. The Ministers took note with appreciation of the Summary Reports of the Track-One activities presented by the respective co-chairmen of the activities, namely the meetings of the Inter-sessional Support Group (ISG) on Confidence Building Measures held in Tokyo on 18-19 January 1996 and in Jakarta on 15-16 April 1996, the Inter-sessional Meeting (ISM) on Peace Keeping Operations held in Kuala Lumpur on 1-3 April 1996 and the Inter-sessional Meeting (ISM) on Search and Rescue Cooperation and Coordination held in Honolulu on 4-7 March 1996.
10. In this connection, the Ministers endorsed the proposals made by the Track-One Activities which appear in their respective Summary Reports as follows:
The Inter-Sessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures
Dialogue on Security Perceptions
- Dialogue on security perceptions should be continued within the ARF process, including at inter-sessional meetings.
- Information-sharing on dialogue and other activities of the ARF participants should be continued on the basis of papers voluntarily submitted by participants. Such papers could also cover defence contacts and exchange programmes undertaken by the participants.
Defence Policy Publication :
- The ARF participants are further encouraged to submit annually a defence policy statement to the ARF SOM on a voluntary basis. Regular publication of defence white papers or similar papers would also be welcomed.
- Exchanges of views on the information provided in such statements and papers should be encouraged in future ARF dialogues.
Enhancing High-level Defence Contacts and Exchanges among Defence Staff Colleges and Training.
- ARF SOM is open to defence representatives and encourages their greater participation in inter-sessional activities.
- The ARF participants should be encouraged to submit papers on their defence contacts and other exchange programmes to the ARF SOM. Such papers could cover security dialogues and other activities they undertake.
- The ARF participants should be encouraged to conduct exchanges among national defence colleges, including information sharing and personnel exchanges, and to convene a meeting of heads of national defence colleges or equivalent to this end;
The UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNRCA)
- The discussions on the UN Register within the ARF framework should be continued, with a view to enhancing security in the region;
- The ARF participants should be encouraged to circulate on a voluntary basis the same data to the ARF countries at the time of its submission to the UN, while avoiding unnecessary administrative duplication;
- The ARF participants should be encouraged to work together within the UN to promote more global participation in the UN Register.
Additional Confidence Building Measures
- completing and maintaining a current list of ARF contact points;
- exchanging information on the role of defence authorities in
disaster relief, and considering the convening of an intersessional meeting on this matter;
- exchanging information on a voluntary basis on some of the on-going observer participation in and on-going notification of military exercises among ARF participants with a view to discussing the possibilities of such measures in selected exercises;
- encouraging the participants to support actively internationally recognized global arms control and disarmament legal agreements, specifically Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and the successful conclusion of CTBT.
- The ISG on CBMs should continue its activities for another year in order to review the implementation of CBMs to be approved by the Third ARF Ministerial Meeting, and to further discuss measures to be promoted in the future, with particular emphasis on proposals identified in the summary Report (ANNEX D).
A. The Inter-Sessional Meeting (ISND on Search and Rescue Coordination and Cooperation
A meeting of SAR experts and officials who are familiar with the ARF process should be convened to further discuss and explore cooperation in the following areas:
- The increased sharing of training facilities and expertise in the region to enhance the capabilities of SAR personnel.
b. Further cooperation between training institutions and the facilitation of a greater flow of information, for example, with the establishment of a directory of training courses.
c. Movements towards standardization of SAR manuals, training and procedures.
d. Possible increased practical training and exercises such as attaching SAR personnel to the Rescue Coordination Centers (RCCS) of other countries for on-the-job training and experience; training of personnel other than SAR Mission Coordinators (SMCS) such as pilots and medical personnel involved in SAR; conducting paper and field exercises; and exploring the possibility of establishing an internet web site between RCCS.
The Inter-Sessional Meeting (ISM) on Peacekeeping Operations
i. Current Status of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations
- ARF participants work together more closely within the ARF context and also in the United Nations Special Committee on Peace Keeping Operations as part of an ongoing dialogue to exchange views and experiences on UN Peacekeeping Operations.
- ARF participants are encouraged to become Parties to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.
- ARF participants endeavour to pay their assessed contributions to peace keeping operations on time, in full and without conditions.
ii. Training for Peace Support Operations
- ARF participants promote greater sharing of peace keeping experience and expertise among ARF participants voluntarily through, inter-alia:
- holding training courses on specialized peacekeeping topics;
- sharing curricula and course information;
- developing a roster of peacekeeping trainers;
- offering available places in national training programmes to other ARF participants;
- assisting where possible in financing of peacekeeping training;
- fostering cooperation among national peace keeping training centers.
- ARF participants use United Nations training manuals and materials as the basis of their training programmes for national contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.
- ARF participants are encouraged to support the peacekeeping capacity of the UN through loan of military and civilian personnel and through other bilateral arrangements.
a. ARF participants work closely, according to their capabilities, with UNDPKO to reinforce the ability of the UN to respond effectively and rapidly to crisis situations.
b. ARF participants consider, where possible, taking part in the Standby Arrangements in order to facilitate the planning and deployment of UN peacekeeping
11. Pursuant to the relevant recommendations of the ISG on CBMS, the Ministers agreed that the ISG on CBMs continue its activities for another year and an ISM on Disaster Relief be convened. Similarly, the ISM on Search and Rescue Coordination and Cooperation should continue its activities for one more meeting, attended by SAR experts and officials who are familiar with the ARF process, to be convened in Singapore in the first half of 1997 and remain co-chaired by the present co-chairmen namely Singapore and the United States.
12. The Ministers also agreed that the ISM on Peacekeeping Operations co-chaired by Canada and Malaysia continue to function for another year to coordinate the implementation of the specific recommendations adopted by this ISM, including the convening of a regional "Train the Trainers" Workshop in Kuala Lumpur and the conducting of a course on demining. New Zealand has offered to host the course on demining.
13. The Ministers welcomed the offers made by China and the Philippines to co-host the ISG on CBMs in Beijing in early March 1997 and by Thailand and New Zealand to co-host the ISM on Disaster Relief.
14. Pursuant to the decision of the Second ARF Ministerial Meeting, the Ministers noted with appreciation that a number of participants had submitted defence policy statements or defence policy papers.
15. The Ministers took note of the report presented by the Chairman of the Track Two Seminar on Principles of Security and Stability in the Asia Pacific held in Moscow on 23-24 April 1996. The Ministers observed that the Seminar had been useful, particularly in promoting better understanding of the respective values and aspirations of the participants with regard to security and stability in the Asia Pacific and agreed that the dialogue on the matter should continue.
16. The Ministers also noted the EU proposals: a Track Two Seminar on Nonproliferation to be co-sponsored by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) of Indonesia and Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) of Germany and the Peace Research Centre, Australian National University (ANU) of Australia in Jakarta on 6-7 December 1996; a Track Two Seminar on Preventive Diplomacy to be co-sponsored by L’Institut Francais des Relations Internationales (IFRI) and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) of Indonesia in Paris on 7 - 8 November 1996.
17. With a view to assisting ARF participants in preparing their human resources for ARF activities, the Ministers agreed that, in principle, Track One activities be carried out in the first half of the calendar year while Track Two activities in the second half of the calendar year.
18. The Minister is also agreed to consider at the next ARF Meetings the question of drug trafficking and other related trans-national issues such as economic crimes, including money laundering, which could constitute threaths to the security of the countries of the region.
19. It was noted that the discussions throughout the Meeting remained positive, although there was some divergence of views on the subjects discussed. The participants were open and candid in expressing their views but this did not generate tension or dissension in the room. Instead, there was a tendency towards creating a harmonious environment. This positive mood demonstrated that the overall trend remains encouraging.
20. The participants also displayed a high degree of comfort in their interactions with each other. The ARF is still a fairly young process. Its success was never pre-ordained. It is therefore worth noting that the increasing comfort level among the participants at the Third ARF demonstrates that the ARF is progressing at a good pace. Future meetings should try to build upon this demonstrated base of friendly and frank discussions among the participants as this will in turn pave the way for agreements on substantive issues in the coming years.