3RD LD: Japan, ASEAN to issue antiterrorism declaration Tues

3RD LD: Japan, ASEAN to issue antiterrorism declaration Tues

VIENTIANE, Nov. 27 Kyodo


Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are set to jointly issue an antiterrorism declaration after a summit Tuesday as their foreign ministers gave the green light to a draft Saturday, a Japanese official said.

The leaders are expected to note the threat of terrorism remains ”a global security concern” and say they are ”determined to address the threat posed by terrorists to the peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region,” according to a draft declaration obtained by Kyodo News.

The foreign ministers also adopted a progress report on a 2003 Japan-ASEAN action plan, enumerating about 120 items aimed at enhancing regional cooperation at various levels in the economic, security and human resources sectors.

Japanese and ASEAN leaders jointly adopted the action plan at their last meeting in December 2003 in Tokyo. The measures in it include Japan’s plan to provide $1.5 billion in aid for development in the Mekong River region on the Indochina Peninsula over three years.

The foreign ministers will submit the progress report to the upcoming summit so the leaders can adopt additional measures to promote mutual relations.

Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura told the meeting Saturday that Japan will continue working with Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand on signing a bilateral free trade agreement with each of them as early as possible.

Machimura also said Japan will make efforts so it can start negotiations with the ASEAN members over a comprehensive economic alliance in April next year.

He also took up issues outside the scope of ASEAN such as North Korea, the reconstruction of Iraq and U.N. reforms, the official said.

Machimura was quoted as telling his counterparts from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam that Japan hopes the stalled six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions will resume by the end of this year.

Saying that the settlement of the nuclear issue will benefit North Korea, Machimura also called for ”understanding and cooperation” by the ASEAN members in Tokyo’s efforts to resolve the issue of North Korea’s past abductions of Japanese.

The Japanese minister also touched on Iraq, saying it is ”indispensable” that the international community continues helping the war-torn country rebuild itself.

Machimura also mentioned the need to strengthen functions of the U.N. Security Council by allowing new members both from developed and developing countries. Japan is seeking a permanent seat of the council.

No ASEAN participants showed clear reactions to Machimura’s position on the issues of North Korea, Iraq and the U.N. reforms, according to the official.

Participants from ASEAN were quoted as telling the meeting that it is important for the association and Japan to join forces in combating piracy.

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