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ARF Workshop on Preventive Diplomacy

“The Way Forward to Preventive Diplomacy in the ARF”

Tokyo , 16-17 March 2004


Co-Chair’s Summary





1.       Pursuant to the Recommendations on the Future Direction of the ARF endorsed at the 9th ARF Ministerial Meeting in 2002, which decided to follow up the Concept and Principles of Preventive Diplomacy adopted in 2001, the ARF Workshop on Preventive Diplomacy was held on 16-17 March 2004 in Tokyo , co-chaired by Japan and Thailand . The meeting was attended by ARF participants listed in the Annex, and several participants had Experts and Eminent Persons (EEPs) in their respective delegations.

2.       The Workshop was held back-to-back with the OSCE-Japan Conference on the Search for Conflict Prevention in the New Security Circumstances, and there were informal exchanges of views between participants of the two conferences prior to the Workshop.

3.       The Workshop was conducted in a frank and cordial manner and participants had useful and constructive discussions on matters relating to preventive diplomacy.


Summary of Discussions


Session 1: Review of Developments in the Area of Preventive Diplomacy in the ARF since the Adoption of the “Paper on Concept and Principles of Preventive Diplomacy”


4.       The Workshop reviewed, with the presentation by Japan , the history of discussions on the matter of preventive diplomacy in the ARF so that all the participants could possess a common understanding on where we are on this issue. The Workshop took stock of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the ARF process such as ISG-CBMs, ISM-CT/TC and ongoing activities involving defense officials. The Workshop stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation in a transparent, continuous and efficient manner towards strengthening work in the area of preventive diplomacy. The Workshop also wook note of the usefulness of the exchange of experiences with organizations dealing with regional peace and security. The Asia (TAC) by ASEAN Dialogue Partners would contribute to confidence building and preventive diplomacy in the region.


Session 2: Concrete Measures towards Implementation of Preventive Diplomacy


5.       The Workshop carried forward discussions on exploring concrete measures towards implementation of preventive diplomacy as follows;

(1)     Role of the Chair

The Workshop noted with appreciation the presentation by Thailand on how to enhance the role of the ARF Chair. The Workshop discussed mechanisms and options regarding the Chair’s role and the chair system, including, inter alia, “Friends of the Chair”, introduction of co-chairmanship, vice-chairmanship or Troika. Some participants stressed the leading role of ASEAN in the ARF and with regard to the ARF Chair. The Workshop also discussed the issue of procedure in issuing the ARF Chair’s Statement on specific situation.

(2)     Secretariat

The Workshop welcomed the agreement by ASEAN on the establishment of the ARF Unit within the ASEAN Secretariat. The Workshop underlined the need for due consideration to the ARF Unit’s terms of reference, to be initiated by ASEAN, and looked forward to further discussion on the ARF Unit.

(3)     Role of the EEPs

The Workshop noted with appreciation the briefing by the Republic of Korea on Guidelines for the Operation of the ARF EEPs. The Workshop agreed that the ARF should accelerate finalization of the draft Guidelines, activate EEPs as soon as possible after finalization of the draft Guidelines, and encourage EEPs’ participation in appropriate ARF activities.

(4)     Role of Track Two Organizations

The Workshop recognized the importance of Track Two activities and of strengthening link ages with Track Two organizations.

(5)     Concrete Measures

The Workshop took note of the presentation by China on concrete measures on preventive diplomacy such as keeping the nature of ARF as a political and security dialogue venue and embodying the principles of having ASEAN playing a leading role in developing preventive diplomacy in the ARF.


Session 3: Preventive Diplomacy and the New Perception of Security


6.       The Workshop emphasized the importance of achieving common understanding of and recognizing the importance of “New Threats”, with focus on transnational problems, inter alia, international terrorism, illicit trafficking in arms, drugs and persons, and diseases such as HIV/AIDS, piracy and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, which require global and regional cooperation and responses.

7.       The Workshop agreed on the necessity to promote international cooperation such as information sharing and networking among executive branches of governments, law enforcement agencies and customs, in addition to traditional diplomatic efforts, as well as increase public awareness and the role of civil society, The Workshop explored ways to reflect in the ARF process the existing and new initiatives in the areas of counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, and other regional security cooperation efforts to respond to new threats arising from intense domestic instability.

8.       The Workshop took note with appreciation of the Non-Paper on Preventive Diplomacy presented by Canada , which set out the proposal to identify priorities and establish the work plan to achieve a practical outcome. The Workshop recognized the significance of expediting the ARF to accelerate its response to new security threats and reinforce its preventive diplomacy efforts, and suggested the ISG-CBMs in Yangon and ARF-SOM in Yogyakarta to continue to consider these ideas.


Session 4: Considerations and Recommendations


9.       The Co-Chairs noted with warm appreciation that all the participants including EEPs were engaged in the discussion in a constructive and interactive manner, thereby producing tangible outcomes which reflected the strong commitment among the participants to make progress towards preventive diplomacy.

10.   In this regards, the Co-Chairs agreed to forward the following recommendations, picked up from the discussion at the Workshop, to the next ISG-CBMs in Yangon in April 2004 as well as the next ARF-SOM in Yogyakarta in May 2004 for their consideration:

  • Prioritize various ideas for cooperation to move the ARF process forward,
  • Support efforts to enhance the role of the ARF Chair and explore further the various options to achieve it,
  • Welcome the agreement by ASEAN on the establishment of the ARF Unit within the ASEAN Secretariat and encourage to pay due consideration to its terms of reference,
  • Finalize the draft Guidelines for Operation of the ARF EEPs, activate EEPs as soon as possible after finalization of the draft Guidelines, and encourage EEPs’ participation in appropriate ARF activities,
  • Assess the idea of the establishment of ISG-PD or of entrusting existing ISG-CBMs to cover PD,
  • Affirm that the focus of ARF work should cover security in a comprehensive manner, including traditional and non-traditional security issues, and explore practical ways to accelerate the ARF’s response to new security threats, and to reinforce its preventive diplomacy efforts,
  • Strengthen link ages with Track Two process,
  • Strengthen link ages with other international or regional bodies which deal with security issues on the basis of consultation and consensus of ARF participants.
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