Chairman’s Statement of The 33rd ASEAN Summit

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We, the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States, gathered in Singapore for the 33rd ASEAN Summit on 13 November 2018. We reviewed ASEAN’s progress in building a resilient and innovative Community, and deepening links with the rest of the world. We also exchanged views on recent global and regional developments, and discussed how to take ASEAN forward at a time of rapid change.
2. We reaffirmed our commitment to the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the ASEAN Leaders’ Vision for a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN. We resolved to fully tap the opportunities arising from the digital revolution, while staying responsive to emerging issues, including non-traditional security threats and environmental challenges, and ensuring sustainable development.
3. We adopted the following documents at the Summit:
a. ASEAN Smart Cities Framework;
b. ASEAN Declaration on Promoting Green Jobs for Equity and Inclusive Growth of ASEAN Community;
c. ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
d. ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change to the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC);
e. ASEAN Joint Statement to the Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity;
f. ASEAN Declaration on the Adoption of the ASEAN Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Day; and
g. Declaration on the Guidelines on Consular Assistance by ASEAN Member States’ Missions in Third Countries to Nationals of Other ASEAN Member States.
4. We underscored the importance of strengthening ASEAN Centrality and unity in our Community-building efforts and engagement with our external partners. We reiterated our commitment to a rules-based regional architecture that is open, transparent and inclusive, building on ASEAN-led mechanisms including the ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three (APT), East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus). We reaffirmed our belief that regionalism and multilateralism are important principles and frameworks of cooperation, and that their strength and value lie in their inclusiveness, rules-based nature and emphasis on mutual benefit and respect.
5. We reaffirmed our shared commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
6. We reaffirmed the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN)’s importance as a platform to synergise development efforts, share best practices and catalyse more opportunities for growth, innovation, capacity-building and inclusive sustainable urban development. In this regard, we welcomed the convening of the Inaugural ASCN Meeting in Singapore in July 2018, and commended the ASCN on the progress it has made in its inaugural year. We were pleased to adopt the ASEAN Smart Cities Framework, which serves as a non-binding guide for smart cities development in ASEAN Member States. The Framework identifies the strategic outcomes, urban systems, focus areas, and enablers of smart and sustainable urbanisation in ASEAN, while respecting the unique needs, priorities, potential and culture of each ASEAN Member State. We also welcomed the completion of the Smart City Action Plans by the 26 ASCN pilot cities, and the list of initial project partnerships between ASCN pilot cities and external partners. We looked forward to further developing the ASCN in the coming years and implementing its action plans, so as to improve the lives of our peoples.
7. We noted the significant progress made in implementing the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 towards achieving an integrated, well-connected, innovative and resilient ASEAN Community. We welcomed the launch of the three key initiatives: namely the Initial Rolling Priority Pipeline of Potential ASEAN Infrastructure Projects, the ASEAN Sustainable Urbanisation Strategy, and the Study on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Participation in Digital Economy in ASEAN, which outlined potential opportunities for sustainable infrastructure development and inclusive growth by harnessing digital technologies. We commended the efforts undertaken by the ASEAN Connectivity Coordinating Committee, National Coordinators, National Focal Points and relevant Sectoral Bodies, and appreciated the support of our Dialogue Partners and other external partners for MPAC 2025. We also welcomed the successful convening of the inaugural MPAC 2025 Monitoring, Review
and Evaluation Meeting, and the 9th ASEAN Connectivity Symposium in September 2018, which created a platform to review the process and receive feedback from all relevant stakeholders with regard to the implementation of MPAC 2025. We called for stronger partnership and closer collaboration among government, private sector and external partners to effectively implement MPAC 2025. The launch of the MPAC 2025 microsite will contribute to raising greater awareness of the ASEAN Connectivity agenda among these stakeholders, and showcase Connectivity projects in ASEAN Member States. We noted the value of building on connectivity strategies at the sub-regional level and enhancing connectivity between ASEAN and other regions.
8. We were pleased with the progress of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan III’s implementation. We tasked our officials to actively monitor and evaluate the results against the objectives and targeted outputs, in order to ensure the effectiveness of the IAI Work Plan III. We appreciated the support and contributions of ASEAN Member States and ASEAN’s partners to narrow the development gap in ASEAN, including the Singapore Cooperation Centres that were launched to offer a wider range of technical assistance to the host countries, and encouraged the effective utilisation of resources. We looked forward to the results of the assessment on the progress of narrowing the development gap in ASEAN.
9. To enhance policy coherence, efficiency and coordination across the three ASEAN Community Pillars, we encouraged the expeditious secondment of officials from the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Pillars to the Permanent Missions of ASEAN Member States to ASEAN in Jakarta. We expressed our appreciation to the Indonesian Government for the construction of the new ASEAN Secretariat building. We welcomed the progress made and looked forward to the soft launch of the new building in early 2019 and its full operationalisation by mid-2019. We noted the need for the ASEAN Secretariat to enhance its analysis and monitoring capacity to fully support ASEAN Member States in their regional integration and Community-building efforts.
10. We appreciated the ASEAN Secretariat’s initiative in establishing the ASEAN Prize. We congratulated Ms. Erlinda Uy Koe for receiving the inaugural award in recognition of her work in bringing about greater awareness of persons with autism in the region, and for providing support to them and their family members.
11. We welcomed the convening of the “2018 Southeast Asia Counter-Terrorism Symposium: A Collective Approach” in Singapore in October 2018, which facilitated the exchange of ideas on a collective approach towards regional counter-terrorism cooperation. We also welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN Plan of Action to Prevent and Counter the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism 2018-2025
by the 12th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC) in Nay Pyi Taw in October 2018, which underscored the importance of enhancing ASEAN cooperation to address the growing challenge of transnational crime.
12. We welcomed the convening of the 3rd ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC) in Singapore in September 2018, which saw substantive follow-up to the ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on Cybersecurity Cooperation adopted at the 32nd ASEAN Summit in April 2018. In this regard, we noted the agreement by the relevant Ministers: (a) on the need for a formal ASEAN cybersecurity mechanism to coordinate cyber policy; and (b) to subscribe in-principle to the 11 voluntary, non-binding norms recommended in the 2015 Report of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (UNGGE), as well as to focus on regional capacity-building in implementing these norms. We stressed the importance of continuing to strengthen ASEAN cybersecurity cooperation, and noted that the ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Senior Officials’ Meeting (TELSOM) had agreed that the ASEAN Network Security Action Council (ANSAC) will prepare a proposal for a formal ASEAN cybersecurity coordination mechanism for consideration by relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies. We encouraged the relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies to work expeditiously on this proposal, given the urgency of the cyber threat. We agreed that in the interim, the AMCC should continue to serve as the interim and non-formal ASEAN platform for cybersecurity. We also welcomed the announcement of the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence, and the ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Centre in Bangkok, which will complement existing ASEAN efforts in cybersecurity capacity-building.
13. We acknowledged further progress in defence cooperation, among ASEAN Member States as well as with the Plus Countries, and were pleased to observe the defence sector’s continued commitment to regional peace and security expressed through the adoption of Joint Statements and Concept Papers pertinent to this year’s three priority areas. On establishing practical confidence-building measures, we welcomed the adoption of the Guidelines for Air Military Encounters at the 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM), and the issuance of the Joint Statement by the ADMM-Plus Defence Ministers on Practical Confidence-Building Measures at the 5th ADMM-Plus in October 2018, which highlighted their intent to apply the air guidelines, as well as their commitment to abide by the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES). On building regional capacity to tackle chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) threats, we looked forward to the establishment of the Virtual Network of ASEAN CBR Defence Experts by the 12th ADMM. On strengthening regional counter-terrorism cooperation, we noted the 3Rs – “Resilience, Response, and Recovery” concept of counter-terrorism, and welcomed the “Our Eyes” Initiative to promote strategic information exchange, as well as the issuance of the Joint Statement by the ADMM-Plus Defence Ministers on Preventing and Countering the Threat of Terrorism. In addition, we took note of the successful ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise in 2018
and the agreement to conduct an ASEAN-United States Maritime Exercise in 2019. We welcomed the formalisation of the ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM), which will take stock of all military interactions among ASEAN Member States for reporting to the ADMM through the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting (ADSOM). We also looked forward to the full operationalisation of the ASEAN Militaries Ready Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (AMRG on HADR) and the ASEAN Centre for Military Medicine (ACMM), based on the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, consensus-based decision-making, participation on the basis of a flexible, voluntary, and non-binding nature, assets remaining under national command and control, and at a pace comfortable to all.
14. We noted with satisfaction that the text of the Model ASEAN Extradition Treaty had been finalised and endorsed by the 18th ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting (ASLOM) and the 10th ASEAN Law Ministers Meeting (ALAWMM) in Vientiane in October 2018. We therefore welcomed the commencement of work on an ASEAN Extradition Treaty as a next step, which would strengthen ASEAN’s resilience and capacity to combat transnational crime, and enhance cooperation within ASEAN to ensure respect for the rule of law. We also welcomed the successful inaugural session of the ASEAN Law Academy, which was held in Singapore in July 2018.
15. We reiterated our commitment to preserve the Southeast Asian region as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone and free of all other weapons of mass destruction as enshrined in the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone (SEANWFZ Treaty) and the ASEAN Charter. We stressed the importance of the full and effective implementation of the SEANWFZ Treaty, including under the Plan of Action to Strengthen the Implementation of the SEANWFZ Treaty (2018-2022). We reaffirmed our commitment to continuously engage the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) and intensify the ongoing efforts of all Parties to resolve all outstanding issues in accordance with the objectives and principles of the SEANWFZ Treaty. Our ASEAN experts could explore ways to bridge the differences, including the possibility of engaging with NWS experts.
16. We affirmed our aspiration for a drug-free region through the adoption of the ASEAN Statement for the 62nd Session of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs (CND) High-Level Segment in 2019 and the ASEAN Statement Against Legalisation of Controlled Drugs by the 6th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters (AMMD) in Ha Noi in October 2018. We also appreciated the work of the ASEAN Directors-General of Immigration Departments and Heads of Consular Affairs Divisions of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (DGICM) in finalising the Guidelines on Consular Assistance by ASEAN Member States’ Missions in Third Countries to Nationals of Other ASEAN Member States, which was subsequently adopted by the AMMTC in October 2018. The implementation of the Guidelines would promote awareness of our
people-oriented, people-centred Community and enhance ASEAN’s ability to provide assistance to our nationals.
17. We noted the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (ASEAN-IPR)’s work in conducting activities to promote regional peace, security, conflict management, and resolution. We recognised the progress made by the ASEAN-IPR in operationalising its Secretariat, following the appointment of its first Executive Director, and commended the Governing Council of ASEAN-IPR on the adoption of the Institute’s Three-year Work Plan (2018-2020) to support ASEAN in further implementing the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint 2025. We noted the convening of the ASEAN-IPR Regional Youth Conference on Peace and Tolerance: Building Unity and Common Understanding on Countering Intolerance and Violent Extremism in Jakarta in October 2018, as a platform for youth and other relevant stakeholders in the region to discuss and promote narratives of peace, tolerance and pluralism to counter intolerance and violent extremism.
18. We were encouraged that ASEAN, as a group of developing countries, attained a combined GDP of USD 2.8 trillion in 2017, a 5.3 per cent growth year-on-year, up from 4.8 per cent in 2016. We noted that growth is expected to remain stable at 5.1 per cent and 5.2 per cent in 2018 and 2019, respectively. We further noted that ASEAN’s total merchandise trade reached USD 2.57 trillion in 2017, of which 22.9 per cent was intra-ASEAN; and that ASEAN’s total services trade reached USD 695.2 billion in 2017, of which 16.7 per cent was intra-ASEAN. On investment, we noted that inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to ASEAN reached USD 137 billion in 2017, of which 19.4 per cent was intra-ASEAN. While welcoming ASEAN’s positive growth outlook, we recognised the uncertainties due to trade frictions and debt sustainability in some major economies, as well as the risks of capital outflows and exchange rate volatilities. We thus reaffirmed our resolve to continue advancing the AEC agenda to bolster regional economic resilience against external shocks, and towards targets such as the doubling of intra-ASEAN trade by 2025.
19. We welcomed ASEAN’s progress in realising the five economic thrusts identified by Singapore for 2018, namely: promoting innovation and e-commerce; improving trade facilitation; deepening services and investment integration; cultivating a conducive regulatory environment; and progressing ASEAN’s external relations. We welcomed the signing by the ASEAN Economic Ministers in November 2018 of the ASEAN Agreement on Electronic Commerce, which would facilitate cross-border e-commerce transactions and promote confidence in the use of e-commerce in the region to drive economic growth and social development. We noted the endorsement by the AEC Council Ministers of the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework, which identifies the economic benefits of, and current challenges to, digital integration for ASEAN and for individual ASEAN Member States, with particular attention paid to
MSMEs. We further noted the ASEAN Secretariat’s Assessment of ASEAN’s Readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and tasked our officials to strengthen cross-pillar and cross-sectoral coordination in this area. We commended the 10th Anniversary of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) and its contributions to deepening economic integration, narrowing the development gap and achieving sustainable development in ASEAN and East Asia, and encouraged ERIA to continue providing targeted high-quality research on topics that highlight and address the challenges facing the region.
20. We welcomed the signing by the ASEAN Economic Ministers in August 2018 of the First Protocol to Amend the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), which would allow for the operationalisation of the ASEAN-wide Self-Certification Scheme; and of the Protocol to Implement the 10th ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS), which would guarantee ASEAN service providers the widest preferential services market access into ASEAN markets to date. We also welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA), which would form a complete trio together with the ATIGA and ASEAN Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA). We also welcomed the enhancements to the ACIA, particularly in introducing additional disciplines prohibiting the imposition of performance requirements on investors. We noted that the implementation of the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) in five ASEAN Member States (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam) is under way, with live operation of the ASW on 1 January 2018. We welcomed the progress made by Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia and the Philippines towards joining the ASW, and encouraged Lao PDR and Myanmar to expedite the development of their National Single Windows so as to join the ASW as soon as possible.
21. We were encouraged by the ongoing efforts to achieve ASEAN’s renewable energy aspirational targets of 23 per cent share of renewable energy in the region’s total energy mix by 2025, and energy intensity reduction by 30 per cent by 2025 based on 2005 levels. We welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ASEAN and the International Renewable Energy Agency in October 2018, and the accompanying Action Plan, which would contribute towards ASEAN’s efforts to achieve its collective target. We also welcomed the Ministers’ endorsement of the key recommendations of the Gas Advocacy White Paper to enhance Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) cooperation and trade in the region. We noted the Ministers’ endorsement of the Capacity Building Roadmap on Energy Investment and Financing for ASEAN to enhance regional capabilities to attract investments and develop sustainable financing. We also noted the Ministers’ endorsement of the recommendations on the Regional Green Building Codes for ASEAN.
22. We reaffirmed our strong commitment to multilateralism and international cooperation, and remained steadfast in upholding the open and rules-based multilateral trading system, which has underpinned the region’s economic growth over
the past decades. In this regard, we welcomed the substantial progress made in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2018. We noted with satisfaction that the RCEP negotiations have advanced to the final stage, and we expressed our determination to conclude a modern, comprehensive, high quality, and mutually beneficial RCEP in 2019. We also expressed our commitment to uphold a global trade environment that is open, mutually beneficial, rules-based and inclusive through the RCEP. We commended Indonesia’s initiative in hosting the ASEAN Leaders’ gathering in Bali in October 2018 on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group, focusing on efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and overcome development gaps through regional and global collaborative actions.
23. We reaffirmed our commitment to accelerate infrastructure development and financing in ASEAN by mobilising private capital, and to advance financial integration in ASEAN by strengthening private market financing opportunities for promising ASEAN growth enterprises. We expressed support for ongoing efforts to strengthen disaster resilience in the region with the ASEAN Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (ADRFI) initiative, and welcomed the agreement to establish a regional catastrophe risk insurance pool for Lao PDR and Myanmar as the first product of the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility (SEADRIF), with support from Japan, Singapore and the World Bank. We welcomed the work to enhance national financial inclusion strategies and explore the use of FinTech to improve financial inclusion. We also reaffirmed the commitment to facilitate the sharing of information on cyber threats and incidents within ASEAN to strengthen cyber resilience in the financial sector. We looked forward to the completion of the pilot project between Singapore and Thailand to link real-time retail payment systems, which could potentially pave the way for a broader network of real-time retail payment system linkages among ASEAN Member States. On financial services liberalisation, we looked forward to the signing of the Protocol to Implement the Eighth Package of Financial Services Commitments under AFAS by April 2019, as well as welcomed the start of negotiations for the Ninth Package this year. On cross-border tax matters, we welcomed the efforts to: (a) complete and improve the network of Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements among ASEAN Member States; (b) promote tax dispute resolution mechanisms; and (c) improve the withholding tax structure in ASEAN Member States.
24. We noted the progress made by the ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting (TELMIN) in the third year of implementation of the ASEAN ICT Masterplan 2020, including the implementation of the ASEAN Framework on International Mobile Roaming since 1 January 2018 to provide transparent and affordable access to international mobile roaming services within ASEAN. We also welcomed the initiative to develop an ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance to strengthen the data ecosystem by developing a baseline standard for harmonisation of data governance, and foster data-driven innovation across ASEAN Member States to boost the growth of the digital economy in the region. We noted the Philippines’ hosting of the 10th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on
Science and Technology (IAMMST-10) in Cebu in October 2018, which underscored the importance of leveraging science and technology in a sustainable and inclusive manner.
25. We welcomed the signing by the ASEAN Transport Ministers in November 2018 of Protocol 4 on Co-Terminal Rights Between Points Within the Territory of Any Other ASEAN Member State to the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalisation of Passenger Air Services (MAFLPAS), which would provide ASEAN carriers with the flexibility to serve two or more points in another ASEAN Member State on the same routing, which shall only be available as part of an international journey. We also noted the progress made in aviation safety, aviation security, and the implementation of the ASEAN Air Traffic Management Master Plan in support of a Seamless ASEAN Sky, all of which are instrumental towards the realisation of the ASEAN Single Aviation Market. We also welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Improvement of Safety Standards and Inspection for Non-Convention Ships within ASEAN Member States.
26. We noted the deep concern of some ASEAN Member States on issues relating to unfair market access and treatment for palm oil. We reaffirmed our support for the concerned Member States’ efforts to address the sustainability of palm oil, including their continued engagement with relevant parties.
27. We resolved to deepen the sense of ASEAN identity, awareness, connectedness and belonging, and find innovative ways to equip our citizens with skills and capabilities so that ASEAN can remain a vibrant, inclusive and dynamic place for our peoples to live, work and play. We reaffirmed our commitment to nurture and invest in the youth of ASEAN to fully realise the energy and potential of ASEAN’s youthful demographic. We welcomed the renewal of the Singapore-ASEAN Youth Fund, the convening of the first ASEAN Esports and Music Festival, “Hyperplay”, in August 2018, and the launch of the ASEAN Youth Fellowship programme. We welcomed Indonesia’s efforts in promoting dialogue and mutual understanding among youth of different faiths and cultural backgrounds to support the ASEAN Declaration on Culture of Prevention for a Peaceful, Inclusive, Resilient, Healthy and Harmonious Society adopted in 2017, including the hosting of the second ASEAN Youth Interfaith Camp in October 2018. We also recognised the Philippines’ efforts leading to our adoption of the ASEAN Declaration on the Adoption of the ASEAN Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Day, and designated 25 November as the ASEAN Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience Day.
28. We reaffirmed our commitment to empowering women and children, and stressed the need to end all forms of violence and discrimination against women and
children. We were encouraged by the development of the ASEAN Regional Guidelines and Procedures to Address the Needs of Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and welcomed the launch of the ASEAN Regional Guidelines on Violence Against Women and Girls Data Collection and Use. We reiterated the need to mainstream a culture of prevention to address the root causes of social issues, and called on all sectors from the three pillars to continue discussions to advance the culture of prevention. On social welfare and development, we noted Thailand’s proposal for an ASEAN Training Centre for Social Work and Social Welfare to be established in Thailand in 2019, and the initiative on a social enterprise for people with disabilities through the Network of Experts on Inclusive Entrepreneurship for ASEAN.
29. We noted the adoption of the Yogyakarta Declaration on Embracing the Culture of Prevention to Enrich ASEAN Identity by the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts (AMCA) and the designation of the ASEAN Senior Officials Responsible for Culture and Arts (SOMCA) as the lead sectoral body of thrust one of the Culture of Prevention on promoting a culture of peace and inter-cultural understanding. We also welcomed the designation of the ASEAN Cultural Year 2019 by the AMCA to promote ASEAN culture internationally, and to drive the promotion of the creative industries, cultural tourism, and sustainable development through culture. We looked forward to carrying out meaningful events with Dialogue Partners during the ASEAN Cultural Year 2019.
30. We noted the progress in implementing the ASEAN Post 2015 Health Development Agenda for 2016-2020 through the four ASEAN Health Cluster Work Programmes on promoting healthy lifestyles, responding to all hazards and emerging threats, strengthening health systems and access to care, and ensuring food safety. We welcomed Thailand’s proposal to establish an ASEAN Centre for Active Ageing and Innovation in Thailand in 2019 to help the region be better prepared to meet the challenges of an ageing society in the future. We further noted discussions at the 2nd ASCC Council Retreat on the ASEAN Enabling Masterplan 2025: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with a view to empowering persons with disabilities and shaping a more disability-inclusive community. We also recognised the importance of the involvement and commitment of all ASEAN Community Pillars, and the relevant sectoral bodies and stakeholders for the effective implementation of the Masterplan.
31. We welcomed the adoption by the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information (AMRI) in May 2018 of the “Core Values on Digital Literacy for ASEAN”, which serves as a framework for digital literacy and cyber wellness in ASEAN; and of the Framework and Joint Declaration to Minimise the Harmful Effects of Fake News, which sets out broad strategies that ASEAN Member States can use to combat the harmful effects of fake news. We noted the ASEAN Communication Master Plan II (ACMP II) 2018-2025 with its renewed commitment to an inclusive ASEAN under the overarching theme of “ASEAN: A Community of Opportunities for All”. We also noted
ongoing efforts to implement the ASEAN Work Plan on Education (2016-2020), which would provide more inclusive educational opportunities for all ASEAN citizens and thereby contribute to the development of a stronger ASEAN Community.
32. We adopted the ASEAN Declaration on Promoting Green Jobs for Equity and Inclusive Growth of ASEAN Community, as a sign of our commitment to promote decent work that contributes to environmental and economic sustainability. We noted the List of ASEAN Occupational Safety and Health Network (ASEAN-OSHNET) Initiatives, which implements the ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Statement on Improving Occupational Safety and Health for Sustainable Growth. We were encouraged by the quick development and finalisation of the action plan by the ASEAN labour sectoral to translate the ASEAN Consensus on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers into concrete actions, just one year after our signing of the ASEAN Consensus in November 2017. The action plan is testament to our commitment to protect and promote the rights of migrant workers in ASEAN.
33. We welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN Network of Public Service Training Institutes in October 2018, which would enhance the competencies of ASEAN civil services and their capacity to respond to emerging challenges. We also encouraged cooperation between the ASEAN Cooperation on Civil Service Matters (ACCSM) and other relevant ASEAN sectoral bodies and pillars to realise the aspirations of the ASEAN Declaration on the Role of the Civil Service as a Catalyst for Achieving the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
34. We welcomed Singapore’s initiative, in its capacity as the Chair of ASEAN, in convening the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action (SAMCA) and the Expanded SAMCA (E-SAMCA) in July 2018, towards full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. We welcomed the submission of the Chair’s Summary of the SAMCA and E-SAMCA by Singapore, on its own initiative and responsibility, as input to the UNFCCC 2018 Talanoa Dialogue. We adopted the ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change to UNFCCC COP 24 and looked forward to the successful outcomes of UNFCCC COP-24 in Poland in December 2018. We also adopted the ASEAN Joint Statement to the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-14) in Egypt in November 2018 to support the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources. We welcomed the full ratification of the Establishment Agreement of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity by all ASEAN Member States. We noted that transboundary haze pollution, arising from land and forest fires remains a major concern in the region. We reiterated our commitment to the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) and the Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation Towards Transboundary Haze Pollution Control with Means of Implementation (the Roadmap) to achieve a Haze-Free ASEAN by 2020. We looked forward to the conducting of the Mid-Term Review on the implementation of the Roadmap to take stock of the implementation progress and to
sustain momentum in ensuring concrete improvements towards achieving the vision of the Roadmap. We looked forward to the establishment and full operationalisation of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution under the AATHP which will provide a strategic framework for the implementation of collaborative actions, to address transboundary haze pollution in the ASEAN region. We noted the “5th Our Ocean Conference” that was held in Bali in October 2018 which, among other things, recognised the urgent need for collective action and coordination to address the challenge of marine debris in the region.
35. We extended our condolences to the Government and people of the Republic of Indonesia for the tragic loss of lives and damage to property caused by the earthquakes in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, as well as the earthquakes and tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi in August and September 2018. We reaffirmed ASEAN’s readiness to extend its cooperation and support, based on the priority areas of relief efforts as identified by Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency. We also noted that the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) deployed 29 ASEAN Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT) members to render assistance to the assessment and disaster relief coordination efforts for the Central Sulawesi disaster. We expressed our appreciation to the Secretary-General of ASEAN in his capacity as the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Coordinator (AHAC) for his strong presence and effective leadership in providing support to the Government of Lao PDR during his visit to the communities affected by Tropical Storm Son-Tinh in July 2018. We also noted that the AHA Centre had delivered two batches of relief items to Lao PDR. We encouraged the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) and the AHA Centre to strengthen coordination among the disaster management stakeholders and other sectors, and welcomed the initiatives to operationalise the “ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region”. We remained committed to ensure sustainability of the AHA Centre as the primary ASEAN regional coordinating agency on disaster management and emergency response, and agreed to increase the annual and equal contribution of ASEAN Member States to the AHA Centre Fund, from USD 50,000 to USD 90,000, for the period of five years, starting from 2019. We looked forward to the establishment of additional Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN (DELSA) Satellite Warehouses in Chainat, Thailand and Camp Aguinaldo, the Philippines to further assist in the deployment of relief items to areas affected by disasters.
36. We noted with satisfaction ASEAN’s efforts to promote complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We welcomed the Concept Note – Terms of Reference for the ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD) to be established in Thailand in 2019 that was adopted by the ASEAN Coordinating Council, and looked forward to its launch.
37. We discussed and received a briefing from Myanmar on the humanitarian situation in Rakhine State, which is a matter of concern. We noted the recent agreement at the Joint Working Group meeting between Bangladesh and Myanmar to commence the repatriation of the first batch of verified displaced persons to Myanmar by mid-November 2018, as a follow-up to the Arrangement on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State between Myanmar and Bangladesh. We stand ready to support Myanmar in its repatriation process and welcomed the invitation extended by Myanmar to the AHA Centre to despatch a needs assessment team to identify possible areas of cooperation in Rakhine State to facilitate the repatriation process. We also welcomed Myanmar’s commitment to ensuring safety and security for all communities in Rakhine State as effectively as possible, and to facilitating the voluntary return of displaced persons to Myanmar in a safe, secure and dignified way. We looked forward to the full implementation of the MOU signed among Myanmar, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to facilitate the repatriation process of displaced persons from Rakhine State. We stressed the need to find a comprehensive and durable solution to address the root causes of the conflict and to create a conducive environment so that the affected communities can rebuild their lives. We encouraged Myanmar to continue to implement the remaining recommendations of the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. We expect the Independent Commission of Enquiry established by the Government of Myanmar to seek accountability by carrying out an independent and impartial investigation of the alleged human rights violations and related issues. We also expressed our continued support for Myanmar in its efforts to bring peace, stability, the rule of law, to promote harmony and reconciliation among the various communities, as well as to ensure sustainable and equitable development in Rakhine State.
38. We welcomed the commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership and the 45th Anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Relations, and looked forward to the upcoming Summits to commemorate these milestones. We looked forward to the 20th ASEAN-ROK Summit, the 3rd ASEAN-Russia Summit, the 6th ASEAN-US Summit, the ASEAN-Australia Informal Breakfast Summit, the ASEAN-India Informal Breakfast Summit, the 21st APT Summit and the 13th EAS, as well as our engagement with the IMF, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Group of Seven (G7), to further strengthen our partnerships and cooperation. We also welcomed the ROK’s proposal to convene an ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in the ROK in 2019 to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-ROK Dialogue Relations, and looked forward to marking this important milestone.
39. We reaffirmed the important role of the APT cooperation framework as a main vehicle to promote peace, security, stability and prosperity in East Asia. We agreed to further strengthen the EAS as a Leaders-led forum for dialogue and cooperation on broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and
concern. We welcomed the continuous strengthening of the EAS mechanisms including through the EAS Ambassadors’ Meetings in Jakarta to enhance coordination, exchange information on regional development initiatives, security policies and initiatives, and discuss implementation of Leaders’ decisions, and the EAS Lunch Retreat format to facilitate candid and substantive discussion and trust-building among the EAS Leaders. We looked forward to further strengthening EAS cooperation by implementing the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative (2018-2022), including through the promotion of practical cooperation in new areas such as maritime cooperation. We reaffirmed the importance of the ARF as an inclusive forum in the Asia-Pacific region for fostering constructive dialogue and cooperation among the ARF Participants on political and security issues of common interest and concern, and welcomed the ARF’s 25th Anniversary.
40. We were pleased to note the growing interest of regional organisations to forge closer relations with ASEAN. In this regard, we were encouraged by the convening of the 5th ASEAN-Pacific Alliance Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in New York in September 2018 on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly. We also looked forward to further renewed impetus to strengthen ASEAN-MERCOSUR relations, as well as relations between ASEAN and other regional organisations.
41. We recognised the instrumental role of the United Nations in tackling global challenges in close collaboration with regional organisations, including ASEAN. We were pleased to note the ongoing cooperation between ASEAN and the United Nations, and reaffirmed the commitment to step up cooperation in areas contributing to the implementation of the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership between ASEAN and the United Nations (2016-2020), and the complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
42. We discussed some of the new initiatives proposed by ASEAN’s external partners to deepen engagement of our region, such as the concepts and strategies on the Indo-Pacific, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Expanded Partnership for Quality Infrastructure. We agreed to explore mutually beneficial cooperation and create synergies with these initiatives, on the basis of ASEAN Centrality, particularly with a view towards promoting peace, stability as well as deepening trade, investment and connectivity in our region. We reaffirmed the need to strengthen an ASEAN-centric regional architecture that is open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based.
43. We discussed the initiative to develop ASEAN’s collective cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region which embraces key principles such as ASEAN Centrality,
openness, transparency, inclusivity and a rules-based approach, in order to enhance mutual trust, respect and benefit.
44. We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea and recognised the benefits of having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity. We underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety. We warmly welcomed the continued improving cooperation between ASEAN and China and were encouraged by the progress of the substantive negotiations towards the early conclusion of an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) on a mutually-agreed timeline. We noted that ASEAN Member States and China had agreed on a Single Draft COC Negotiating Text. In this regard, we emphasised the need to maintain an environment conducive to the COC negotiations. We welcomed practical measures that could reduce tensions, and the risk of accidents, misunderstandings and miscalculation, such as the successful testing of the ASEAN Member States and China MFA-to-MFA hotline to manage maritime emergencies in the South China Sea, and the operationalisation of the Joint Statement on the Application of CUES in the South China Sea adopted on 7 September 2016. We stressed the importance of undertaking confidence-building and preventive measures to enhance, among others, trust and confidence amongst parties.
45. We discussed the matters relating to the South China Sea and took note of some concerns on the land reclamations and activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region. We reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS. We emphasised the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states, including those mentioned in the DOC that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea.
46. We welcomed the Inter-Korean Summits held on 27 April 2018, 26 May 2018 and from 18 to 20 September 2018, as well as the summit between the US and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in Singapore on 12 June 2018. We also welcomed the Panmunjom Declaration, the Pyongyang Joint Declaration as well as the Joint Statement signed between US President Donald J Trump and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK Kim Jong Un.
47. We urged all concerned parties to continue working towards the realisation of lasting peace and stability on a denuclearised Korean Peninsula, including through the full and expeditious implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration, the Pyongyang Joint Declaration and the Joint Statement by the US and DPRK leaders. We also welcomed the DPRK’s stated commitment to complete denuclearisation and its pledge to refrain from further nuclear and missile tests. We reiterated our commitment to the full implementation of all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and noted international efforts to bring about complete denuclearisation in a final, fully verified manner.
. . . . .

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