1. Pursuant to the agreement at the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, on 27 July 1997, the Intersessional Support Group on Confidence Building Measures (ISG on CBMs), Co-Chaired by Brunei Darussalam and Australia, held two meetings in Bandar Seri Begawan and Sydney on 4-6 November 1997 and 4-6 March 1998 respectively. The meetings were attended by all ARF participants and most participants had defence officials in their respective delegations.
2. Both meetings were conducted in a frank and cordial manner and participants had useful and constructive discussions on matters relating to confidence building. These discussions contributed to moving the ARF process forward. Two important new topics were discussed - CBMs/preventive diplomacy and maritime issues.
3. The agendas of the meetings are attached as Annex A, the programs of activities as Annex B and the lists of delegates as Annex C.
4. The following is a summary of discussions of and recommendations from the two meetings.
SUMMARY OF DISCUSSIONS
Review of Activities of the ISG on CBMs, including Implementation of Agreed CBMs
(a) Review of the Progress of the ISG on CBMs, Its Future Directions and Ways of Developing its Activities
5. The participants expressed satisfaction with the progress of the ISG on CBMs. It was felt that in the relatively short period of time since its establishment, the ISG had made an important contribution to the building of confidence and trust in the region. The ISG provided a forum for frank, open and substantive dialogue on the regional security environment, for the exchange of information on security-related developments in individual countries, and for the development of practical confidence building measures. The habits of dialogue and cooperation which were being developed in the ISG and the ARF as a whole would help to promote lasting peace and stability in the region.
6. In discussing its future activities the ISG stressed the importance of confidence building to the ARF. Participants felt that there was still more work to be done on the ARF CBMs agenda and looked forward to the development of new CBMs. The ISG emphasised the need to continue focusing on core military defence-related CBMs, while noting that in accordance with the ARF's comprehensive security approach, some non-military CBMs might usefully be addressed. Several participants stressed the desirability of continuing the practice of holding two meetings of the ISG each intersessional year.
7. The ISG recognised the great potential and important role of the ARF in further strengthening the foundations of regional peace and stability. In this context, they saw the work of the ISG on CBMs continuing for the foreseeable future. The ISG agreed therefore to recommend to the ARF SOM that the mandate for the ISG on CBMs be extended for the next inter-sessional year.
(b) Implementation of Agreed CBMs
8. Pursuant to the direction of Ministers at ARF 4, participants underlined the importance of keeping track of agreed CBMs. The ISG agreed that it had a good report to make in this regard. For example:
the ISG had fully completed two agreed CBMs - the establishment of an inter-sessional meeting on disaster relief and the first ARF Meet of Heads of National Defence Colleges
good progress had been made in developing a range of regional, sub-regional and bilateral exchanges on regional security perceptions. At the regional level, these exchanges took place at the ISG, at the SOM and at the ARF Ministerial itself. Dialogue was also taking place at the sub-regional level (for example, in the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue and at ASEAN Meetings) and there had also been a rapid expansion in the number of bilateral regional security dialogues between ARF members
the number of high-level bilateral defence contacts had been expanding rapidly
defence training and defence exchanges were also frequent
ARF member participation in UNCAR was very high and members were beginning to circulate their returns to each other
participation in global disarmament and non-proliferation regimes was encouraging
several ARF members had voluntarily submitted annual defence policy statements and there had also been very good progress in the voluntary development of Defence White Papers
9. The ISG agreed that there would be value in attempting to present information implementation of agreed CBMs in a concise and accessible form. Participants completed a set of matrices and tables including a summary matrix to chart the implementation of agreed CBMs which appears as Annex D. The ISG felt that these would provide a useful means of presenting the degree of implementation of agreed CBMs to the ARF SOM and to Ministers, as requested by Ministers at ARF 4. It was agreed that these matrices and tables should be updated on an annual basis.
10. The inclusion in the matrices and tables of reference to signature and ratification of the Ottawa Treaty was discussed. It was noted that at the time the CBM on encouraging adherence to the global arms control and disarmament regimes was agreed, the Ottawa Treaty was not yet in existence but that by the time of the Sydney meeting of the ISG this Treaty had already attracted considerable support including from ARF members. An information paper indicating the degree of ARF participation in the Ottawa Treaty was circulated (Annex E). The inclusion of the Ottawa Treaty in the matrices and tables would be considered by the ARF SOM.
High level Defence Contacts and Exchanges Among Defence Staff Colleges and Military Training Institutions
11. Many participants reported on or submitted papers outlining their high-level defence contacts and exchanges. The ISG was encouraged by the high number of such contacts and exchanges. Participants agreed that such exchanges were useful in promoting mutual understanding and confidence, strengthening friendship and eliminating suspicions. It was suggested that a standardised approach to submitting information on defence contacts and exchanges would be useful.
Report on the meeting of Heads of National Defence Colleges by the Philippines
12. The delegation of the Philippines briefed the Meeting on the outcome of the first ARF Meeting of Heads of Defense Colleges and Institutions held from 7-8 October 1997 in Manila. The Chairman's Report of the Meeting was submitted to the Co-Chairs of the ISG and circulated at the Meeting.
13. Participants agreed that cooperation on security education and research was important in enhancing confidence building in the region and provided an opportunity for the Heads of Colleges or similar institutions to establish networks and build people-to-people contacts.
14. The ISG recommended that the ARF SOM endorse the areas of cooperation identified by the meeting of Heads of Defence Colleges and Institutions, which were: faculty and student exchanges, training seminars and academic conferences on mutually agreed topics, country visits, faculty development programs, exchange of publications and greater interaction among heads and senior members of the institutions to be involved.
15. The ISG welcomed the offer by the Republic of Korea to host the next meeting of Heads of Defence Colleges and Institutions in September 1998 and recommended that this decision be endorsed by the ARF SOM.
Update of ARF Contact Points
16. Pursuant to the recommendations of the ISG on CBMs at its Meeting from 6-8 March 1997 in Beijing, the Co-Chairs circulated an updated list of ARF contact points, including ARF defence contact points. The participants noted that the list was very useful in facilitating contacts among members.
System of Compiling ISG on CBMs Documents
17. The ISG was informed that the Co-Chairs would compile and number documents submitted to the ISG on CBMs. The lists of documents tabled at the two meetings is contained in Annex F.
(c) Information Exchanges on Other Regional CBM Cooperation
18. The ISG participants were briefed by the delegation from the People's Republic of China (PRC) on its border agreements with a number of countries. These were: Agreements on Confidence Building in the Military Field Along Border Areas signed in 1996, and Agreement on Mutual Reduction of Military Forces in the Border Areas signed in 1997 between the PRC and the Russian Federation, the Republic of Kazakstan, the Republic of Kyrgyzstan and the Republic of Tajikistan; and Agreement on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the China-India Border Areas signed in November 1996 between the PRC and the Republic of India. The ISG agreed that such agreements and the principles embodied therein would promote confidence building among countries concerned and contribute to the peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region.
Review of the Regional Security Environment and Exchange of Views on Security Perception
19. There was extensive exchange of views under this topic. The ISG was of the view that the region was currently enjoying an unprecedented period of peace and stability and that the security outlook remained positive. It noted that increased dialogue and improved communications between countries had contributed to the situation. Participants noted that economic growth, increasing trade and investment links and high levels of economic interdependency were underpinning the current period of peace and stability. In this context, it was felt that the current economic slowdown in parts of the region would be temporary and that the economies of East Asia would continue to be among the fastest growing in the world.
20. Many participants underlined the importance for the region of stable and constructive relations among the major powers. The ISG welcomed the very significant steps achieved in developing a constructive strategic partnership between the US and the PRC during the October/November 1997 visit to the US by President Jiang Zemin. The ISG also welcomed recent meetings between Prime Minister Hashimoto and President Yeltsin, President Jiang Zemin and President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Hashimoto and President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng, Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and President Yeltsin and President Clinton and Prime Minister I K Gujral.
21. The ISG also noted the ASEAN Informal Summit to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Association as well as the Summits between ASEAN and the PRC, Japan and the Republic of Korea in Malaysia from 14-16 December 1997.
22. The ISG welcomed the successful and peaceful transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the PRC.
23. The ISG was briefed on the recently completed review of the Japan-US Defense Cooperation Guidelines and noted earlier comprehensive briefings contributed to transparency.
24. Participants noted that while the security outlook for the region was generally positive, nevertheless they also recognised some potential problems. The ISG welcomed the briefing by the Republic of Korea and the US on developments on the Korean Peninsula and underlined the importance of the Four Party Talks process and KEDO in working towards peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
25. On the South China Sea, the ISG welcomed the efforts by countries concerned to seek solutions by peaceful means in accordance with international law and the continued exercise of self-restraint in the interest of maintaining peace and stability in the region. The ISG also noted the positive contributions made by bilateral consultations between countries concerned and dialogue in the ASEAN-China Senior Officials Consultations and in the ARF as well as the work of the Informal Workshops on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea.
26. The ISG strongly supported ASEAN's efforts in helping to restore political stability in Cambodia and, in this context, noted the importance of holding successful free, fair and credible elections this year.
27. Canada briefed the ISG on developments in the Ottawa process on Anti-Personnel Landmines.
Observer Participation in and on-goinq Notification of Military Exercises
28. In the implementation of agreed CBM from ARF 3, the ISG had a useful exchange of information on ARF members' respective practices with regard to observership and notification. It was noted that a number of ARF members invited observers to and provide notification of selected military exercises, including unilateral, bilateral and multilateral exercises, on a voluntary and case-by-case basis. Participants noted that such individual practices could contribute towards enhancing mutual confidence.
Defence Participation in the ISG/ARF
29. Many participants noted the importance of active defence participation in ARF processes. Defence involvement in the ARF complemented existing bilateral and regional defence agencies and helped to build trust and confidence. Defence participants also had an important contribution to make to ARF exchanges on regional security issues, the development of practical confidence building measures, and the promotion of cooperation at the technical level.
30. Many participants pointed out that defence officials should be fully integrated into the ARF process at all levels, although they left open the possibility of defence-only meetings on specific issues. The ISG noted that there was already a high level of defence participation in the ISG on CBMs.
31. The agreement that Ministers could be accompanied to the ARF by a second official had also facilitated defence participation in the Ministerial Meeting. A number of participants noted, however, that currently at the ARF SOM there was only a limited role for defence officials.
32. The ISG agreed therefore that it would be useful for an additional official to participate at future ARF SOM Leaders' Retreats in order to accommodate defence representation. Participants agreed to make this recommendation to SOM. The ISG also agreed that it should be up to each Leader to decide the composition of their delegation. Participants noted that the involvement of defence officials in the ARF should take place in an incremental manner and at a pace comfortable to all members.
New Confidence Building Measures
33. The ISG had an extensive discussion on good, well thought out ideas for new CBMs, of both an ongoing process and project nature, tabled by many participants. The ISG discussed which of these were suitable for consideration by the ARF in the near and medium term. The ISG recommended two baskets of proposed new CBMs which appear as Annex G to be forwarded to the ARF SOM and to Ministers for their consideration noting the desirability of adopting a flexible approach to take account of future developments. The first basket consisted of new CBMs which the ISG should consider in the near term while the second basket consisted of the new CBMs which it was felt were likely to need more time and on which agreement was more likely in the medium term.
34. In view of the offers made by the People's Republic of China and Australia, the ISG agreed to recommend the immediate implementation of two of the projects in Basket 1. The ISG welcomed the offer by China to host a military medicine symposium on Tropical Medicine and Epidemic Control in Tropical Regions in November 1998 and by Australia to host and Co-chair a seminar in the next intersessional year on the production of defence policy documents. The US offer to collect and collate the list of publications of CBMs was accepted and this list will be disseminated at the ARF SOM.
35. It was felt that some of the proposals raised were more appropriately considered under existing activities and agenda items. It was agreed that the ISM on Disaster Relief and the ARF SOM should take forward a proposal to enhance cooperation among ARF members in disaster relief; UN Conventional Arms Register data should be handled under the existing ISG Agenda item on the Register; and that Marine Environmental Protection should be discussed under the separate Agenda Item on Maritime issues. Other proposals were discussed but no agreement was reached on taking these forward.
36. The ISG also took note that there was a suggestion to consider the development of a set of guiding principles on promotion of confidence building and cooperation for the maintenance of lasting peace and development in the Asia Pacific region in general and for the activities of the ARF in particular. The ISG was of the view that this matter might be included in the discussion at the track two meeting to be held in September 1998 in Vladivostok
CBMs/Preventive Diplomacy and the ARF
37. In accordance with the mandate of ARF 4, the ISG discussed areas of overlap between CBMs and preventive diplomacy and ways and means of addressing these while maintaining the focus on CBMs. It was felt that the ISG had maintained the focus on CBMs and that discussions on new CBMs ensured that this focus would
38. There was general agreement that many issues could be identified as failing within the area of overlap. Some were already being dealt with as CBMs and others could also be proposed as preventive diplomacy measures. Noting that the distinction between CBMs and Preventive diplomacy was blurred, and in light of the decision of ARF 2 that the consideration of these two issues can proceed in tandem, there was general support for further consideration of the following tabled proposals;
An enhanced role for the ARF Chairman, particularly the idea of a good offices role
The development of a register of experts or Eminent Persons among ARF participants
Annual Security Outlook
Voluntary background briefing on regional security issues
39. In this regard, the ISG agreed to recommend to the ARF SOM and Ministers that two meetings of the ISG on CBMs be held in the next intersessional year with one meeting addressing the overlap between CBMs and preventive diplomacy, including the four proposals tabled. Some participants also suggested the possibility of consideration of common approaches and understandings on preventive diplomacy. The ISG also stressed the importance of proceeding in an incremental and step-by-step manner and of taking decisions by consensus while taking into consideration the interests and comfort level of all ARF participants.
Exchange of Views on Defence Policies
40. Participants explained their defence policies and also exchanged views on the content of their respective defence policies. The ISG welcomed the increasing number of ARF participants who had submitted defence policy papers. The ISG continued to encourage the voluntary annual submission of defence policy papers and suggested that those countries able to do so should submit these to the ISG on CBMs. The ISG noted the increased number of ARF participants preparing defence white papers or their equivalents for the first time. The ISG continued to see considerable value regular publication of defence white papers or similar papers by ARF participants on a voluntary basis. The ISG agreed that continued exchanges on this subject would further contribute to increased transparency and mutual understanding and thereby the promotion of peace and stability in the region.
41. The ISG had a briefing and sharing of information by some ARF members on defence conversion which was seen as useful not only in promoting disarmament but also for economic development. Some participants encouraged ARF members to continue sharing information and seeking cooperation in this area on a voluntary basis.
Arms Modernisation in the Region
42. The ISG exchanged views on trends in arms modernisation in the Asia Pacific region and stressed the importance of transparency in force structures and strategic policies. Participants also had a brief exchange of views on the potential impact of the current financial downturn on defence programs and on regional security more generally.
Arms Control and Non-proliferation
43. The ISG noted that progress had been made in controlling the spread and inhibiting the use of weapons of mass destruction. There was considerable support for internationally recognised non-proliferation and disarmament conventions, treaties and regimes and it was acknowledged that adherence to these contributed to regional peace and security. The ISG discussed the desirability of the resumption of an active work program in the Conference on Disarmament, mentioning a range of issues. Attention was once again called to the ARF's earlier commitment to encouraging ARF countries to sign and ratify global non-proliferation regimes specifically the NPT, CWC, BWC, CCW and CTBT. Certain Missile Technology Control Regime member encouraged other ARF participants to support the non-proliferation aims of the Regime. Several participants drew attention to the threat posed by small arms proliferation and the illicit trafficking in these weapons.
44. The ISG noted the signature by 123 states including 11 ARF participants of the Ottawa Treaty banning the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines (APL) in December 1997. Some participants underlined the desirability of work being undertaken in the Conference on Disarmament on APL, particularly transfers. Conscious of the human suffering caused by APL participants endorsed the urgent need to continue to support efforts in demining, including training, and in the removal of unexploded ordinance as well as the rehabilitation of victims. The ISG understood the ROK's position that security considerations prevented it from signing the Ottawa Treaty at this stage.
United Nations Register of Conventional Arms
45. The ISG reaffirmed the value of the United Nations Register on Conventional Arms as an important transparency and confidence building measure. The very high level of ARF country participation in the Register was pleasing but it was important for the region to maintain its good record. The ISG continued to encourage ARF participants to circulate to each other their UNCAR annual returns. A number of participants raised the possibility of the ARF adding further substance to its discussion under this Agenda Item.
Training on Regional Security
46. The ISG had a useful exchange of views on training on regional security and facilities available to ARF members. The ISG reaffirmed the value of training in contributing to the development of human resources and towards strengthening networking and fostering of people-to-people contacts amongst officials involved in decision making on regional security. Training on regional security was also seen as useful in further promoting confidence building among participants.
47. The ISG strongly supported the offer by the US to organise an integrated training program on regional security for foreign affairs and defence officials to be held in Washington in September 1998. The ISG felt that such programs should be a permanent CBM activity which could be conducted regularly and that flexibility would be required in determining the format, duration and concept of such courses. Other participants also indicated their willingness to consider hosting such programs in future years. The ISG noted that some participants might require assistance to enable them to participate.
48. The ISG welcomed the offer by Canada, Japan and Malaysia to organise a peacekeeping training seminar for the ARF to take place in Japan in the next intersessional year. A number of participants provided information on other training courses and facilities available in their countries to which other ARF participants could be invited. The ISG also welcomed the offer and suggestions by some participants in organising similar or other training programs relevant to regional security.
49. The Co-Chairs invited an Australian expert on maritime issues, Dr Ross Babbage, to make some introductory remarks about changes in the maritime environment including trends in regional shipping and the growth of regional ports. The ISG felt that this had been useful in setting the scene for the subsequent discussion of specific issues.
(a) Maritime Safety
50. Participants noted that shipping was one of the engines of growth in the Asia-Pacific. The region's waterways were carrying more ships and a greater volume of hazardous cargo. These trends were likely to continue and congestion in key "chokepoints" such as the Malacca Straits was a concern to many regional countries. Maritime safety was therefore an important issue appropriately considered under the rubric of comprehensive security. The ISG reviewed the existing regional framework for promoting maritime safety and underlined the importance of ARF members ratifying and fully implementing the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the key International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions on maritime safety as well as the new International Safety Management Code (ISM). Participants noted that technical assistance for those countries which found it difficult to implement their IMO commitments was available. Training of seafarers to reduce human error as a factor in maritime disasters was important.
51. The ISG also noted the important work of the Tokyo MOU on Port State Control in the Asia Pacific region and encouraged ARF members who were not either members or observers of the MOU to support its activities. The ISG was briefed on advances in traffic management and pollution control in the Malacca and Singapore Straits. The ISG expressed its support for other existing regional cooperation in the area of maritime safety, including in APEC and the Indonesian Informal Workshop Series on Managing Potential Conflict in the South China Sea. Participants underlined the importance of not duplicating activities occurring in more specialised forums.
(b) Law and Order at Sea
52. The ISG noted that the security of regional sea lanes of communication was a matter of critical importance to ARF participants. Many of these sea lanes, however, were vulnerable because of their congested nature and their proximity to land. In this context, piracy and sea robbery were issues of particular concern to many ARF participants. The costs to shipping (both direct and indirect), the human toll in terms of injury and loss of life, and the potential threat to the environment from attacks on ships were considerable. Participants observed that onshore policing combined with maritime police action in territorial waters were the most effective weapons against piracy and sea robbery and urged ARF participants to be vigilant in their efforts to combat this problem. However, the ISG also encouraged those ARF members who have not done so already to ratify the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation 1988 (the Rome Convention). The ISG also noted the success of cooperation between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and through ASEAN in significantly reducing the incidence of piracy and sea robbery in the Malacca and Singapore Straits.
53. Some participants were interested in exploring over time possible voluntary bilateral and sub-regional cooperation between ARF participants to combat piracy and sea robbery. Suggestions included: exchanges of information; regional meetings on piracy and sea robbery; publicising areas covered by maritime law enforcement.
54. The ISG noted that surveillance was an important tool in the fight against piracy and other activities such as smuggling, illegal fishing and illegal pollution. Participants were encouraged to consider the voluntary exchange of surveillance information on a bilateral basis and to explore possibilities for cooperative and coordinated surveillance arrangements. In the context of the problem of illegal fishing, participants encouraged ratifying and implementing the relevant international conventions.
(c) Protection and Preservation of the Marine Environment
55. Participants observed that the region's security interests could not be seen exclusively in terms of potential military threats or conflicts and that non-military issues such as environmental damage had the potential to create tensions between states. Given the nature of the region, damage to the marine environment from pollution, overfishing, urbanisation and the degradation of marine coastal environments was a particularly important part of the environment-security equation. It was therefore appropriate in the International Year of the Ocean that the ARF supported regional efforts to protect and preserve the marine environment.
56. The ISG encouraged ARF participants to ratify and implement UNCLOS and the relevant IMO Conventions in the area of pollution from ships. Participants also stressed the importance of implementing the commitments contained in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 (protection of oceans) and paragraph 36 of the resolutions of the General Assembly at its Special Session on Agenda 21 (which agreed on the program for further implementation of Agenda 21). The ISG also supported other regional cooperative efforts in this area, including the East Asian Seas Action Plan, APEC's Marine Resources Conservation Working Group, the South East Asian Program in Ocean Law, Policy and Management (SEAPOL), the International Coral Reef Initiative, the Global Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities and technical activities under the informal Indonesian Workshop Series on Managing Potential Conflict in the South China Sea.
57. The ISG noted cooperation among regional countries in the area of oil spill response and preparedness. There was a suggestion that the ISG consider ARF cooperation in this area, particularly in enhancing response capability. Other proposals for further consideration by the ARF of marine environmental issues were tabled. Participants stressed the importance of avoiding duplication of activity occurring in more specialised forums.
(d) Maritime Cooperation
58. There was considerable interest in further work by the ARF on maritime cooperation issues. A number of suggestions for possible ARF activities were put forward, including for cooperation between navies. Participants agreed, however, that in order to ensure that the ARF did not duplicate work best done elsewhere, and to develop a clearer sense of the areas where the ARF could add value to existing regional cooperation, it would be appropriate for a meeting of specialist officials to be convened under the ISG on CBMs to consider the issues (maritime safety, law and order at sea, protection and preservation of the marine environment) and the proposals put forward by delegations in Sydney. The ISG agreed it would be helpful if this meeting, which should include the IMO, could overlap with the meeting in the next intersessional period of the ISG on CBMs, with these maritime issues on its agenda, in order to allow ISG participants to consider its recommendations.
The ISG decided to convey the following recommendations to the ASEAN Regional Forum Senior Officials Meeting (ARF SOM) to be held in the Philippines on 20-22 May 1998 for the consideration of Ministers at ARF5.
1. Review of the Activities of the ISG on CBMs, including Implementation of Agreed CBMs
1.1 The ISG on CBMs has made an important contribution to the building of confidence and trust in the region. While good progress has been made in implementing a number of agreed CBMs there is still considerable scope to further develop and deepen cooperation on confidence building measures among ARF members. In this context, the ISG on CBMs should continue its work for the foreseeable future. The mandate for the ISG on CBMs therefore should be extended for the next intersessional year.
1.2. Pursuant to the request of Ministers at ARF 4 to review implementation of agreed CBMs, the set of matrices and tables showing the degree of implementation, contained in Annex D, should be presented to Ministers. These matrices should be updated on an annual basis and refined as necessary.
1.3. A second Meeting of Heads of National Defence Colleges should be held in September 1998 in the Republic of Korea.
1.4. The list of ARF contact points should be updated regularly.
1.5. The system of numbering and compiling papers submitted to the ISG on CBMs should be continued.
2. Review of the Regional Security Environment and Exchange of Views on Security Perceptions
2.1.The exchange of views on the regional security environment is a valuable and important confidence building measure and should continue in the ISG on CBMs, ARF SOM and the ARF Ministerial.
3. Defence Participation in the ARF
3.1 Participation in future Leaders Retreats at ARF SOMs should be expanded to SOM Leader plus one in order to accommodate defence representation. The participation by a second official and the composition of each delegation would be at the discretion of SOM Leaders.
4. New CBMs
4.1. Two lists of new CBMs have been developed and agreed to and these should be considered by the ISG on CBMs for implementation in the near future (Basket 1) and over the medium term (Basket 2). These are contained in Annex G. The offers by China to host a military medicine symposium on Tropical Medicine and Epidemic Control in Tropical Regions in November 1998 and by Australia to host and Co-Chair a seminar on production of defence policy documents in the next intersessional year are welcome. Individual participants should send their lists of CBM publications to the US for it to compile and distribute.
4.2. The ISM on Disaster Relief and the ARF SOM should take forward a proposal to enhance cooperation among ARF members in disaster relief; UN Conventional Arms Register Data should be handled under the existing ISG Agenda item on the Register; and Marine Environmental Protection should be discussed under the separate Agenda Item on Maritime Issues.
5. CBMs/Preventive Diplomacy and the ARF
5.1. Noting that the distinction between CBMs and preventive diplomacy was blurred, and in light of the decision of ARF 2 that the consideration of these two issues can proceed in tandem, the ISG should further consider the following tabled proposals:
An enhanced role for the ARF Chairman, particularly the idea of a good offices role
The development of a register of experts or Eminent Persons among ARF participants
Annual Security Outlook
Voluntary background briefing on regional security issues
5.2. The ISG should hold two meetings of the ISG on CBMs in the next intersessional year with one meeting addressing the overlap between CBMs and preventive diplomacy, including the four proposals tabled. Some participants also suggested the possibility of consideration of common approaches and understandings on preventive diplomacy.
6. Exchange of Views on Defence Policies
6.1. In view of their contribution to increasing transparency and mutual understanding, the dialogue on defence policies, the submission annually to the ISG of papers on defence policy statements and the publication of defence white papers or their equivalent on a voluntary basis should continue. Continued exchanges of views within the ISG on defence policies and programs will further contribute to increased transparency and mutual understanding.
7. Defence Conversion
7.1. ARF Participants should continue to share information and seek cooperation on defence conversion on a voluntary basis.
8. Arms Modernisation in the Region
8.1. Noting the importance of transparency, thematic discussions of arms modernisation within the ISG should continue.
9. Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
9.1 Attention was once again called to the ARF's earlier commitment to encouraging ARF countries to sign and ratify the global non-proliferation regimes specifically the NPT, CWC, BWC, CCW and CTBT. The urgent need to support efforts in demining, including training, in the removal of unexploded ordinance and the rehabilitation of victims was endorsed.
10. United Nations Register on Conventional Arms
10.1. Taking note of the high level of ARF participation in the UN Conventional Arms Register, those ARF participants not yet submitting annual returns are encouraged to do so. All ARF participants are encouraged to circulate their returns to all ARF members. Aspects of the UN Conventional Arms Register should continue to be addressed in the ISG on CBMs.
11. Training on Regional Security
11.1. A regular integrated training program for foreign affairs and defence officials on regional security should be a permanent CBM activity. The offer by the US to conduct the first such program in Washington in September 1998 is welcome. The offer by Canada, Japan and Malaysia to organise a peacekeeping training seminar in Japan in the next intersessional year is also welcome.
12. Maritime Issues
12.1 The maritime environment in the Asia Pacific region is undergoing a period of rapid change and the management of maritime issues will become more complex and challenging. In this context, maritime safety, law and order at sea and protection and preservation of the marine environment are important issues appropriately considered by the ARF under the rubric of comprehensive security.
12.2 ARF countries should lend their full support to existing regional and multilateral arrangements and instruments in these areas, including in particular by:
ratifying and implementing the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the relevant International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions and regulations in the area of maritime safety and marine pollution;
supporting the work of the Tokyo MOU on Port State Control in the Asia Pacific region;
supporting training to reduce human error as a factor in maritime disasters;
ratifying the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation 1988 (the Rome Convention);
implementing the commitments contained in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 (Protection of Oceans) and paragraph 36 of the resolutions of the General Assembly at its Special Session on Agenda 21; and
exploring possibilities for cooperative and coordinated surveillance arrangements.
ratifying and implementing the UN Implementing Agreement on the Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.
12.3 The maritime issues of maritime safety, law and order at sea, and protection and preservation of the marine environment should be further considered in the ISG on CBMs. In this connection, a meeting of specialist officials should be convened under the ISG on CBMs to develop a clearer sense of the areas where the ARF can add value to existing activates. This meeting should include the IMO and should overlap with and report to the meeting, in the next intersessional year, of the ISG on CBMs which includes the maritime issues noted above on its agenda.