Asean chief briefs public on Bali meetings` results

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - ASEAN Secretary General Dr Surin Pitsuwan here on Monday briefed audiences in five ASEAN capitals on the highlights, outcomes and follow-up actions from the 44th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences, and the 18th ASEAN Regional Forum which concluded in Nusa Dua, Bali last week.

The briefing was held at the Ministry of Education of Indonesia, but connected by video-linking to the five ASEAN capitals - Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Bangkok, and Ha Noi, the Jakarta-based ASEAN Secretariat said in a press statement here on Monday.

On the issue of the South China Sea, Dr Surin said the Guidelines on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea has demonstrated that all the parties concerned are determined to address the urgent nature of the issue.

He also added that the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is the only platform in the region that addresses security cooperation issues.

"This is a platform that has never existed before the ARF came into being. What if there was no ARF? There would be no mechanism for issues as crucial and vital as common security to be discussed," he said.

On the East Asian countries, he also added that ASEAN and China are actively planning the various activities to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ASEAN-China dialogue partnership this year, while ASEAN and Japan are working on a new Declaration to replace the existing one which has been in use since 2003.

He added that "much has changed within ASEAN and within Japan since then, including the economic progress and the recent natural disasters in Japan," he said.

The growing importance of a global cooperation has also encouraged ASEAN to invite and welcome Russia and the United Sates to work together and contribute to the East Asia Summit forum. He said that ASEAN acknowledges that Russia plays a very important role in the region.

The briefing, which Dr Surin said has become "a regular feature" of the work of ASEAN, was supported by the World Bank, the Global Development Learning Network Asia-Pacific and the Ministry of Education of Indonesia.  (*)