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Chair's Statement – ASEAN
G7 Foreign and Development Ministers' Meeting, Liverpool UK, December 12, 2021
A statement by Right Honourable Elizabeth Truss MP, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, in her capacity as Chair of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers' Meeting.
The first meeting between the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers and ASEAN Member States took place in Liverpool and via videoconference on 12 December 2021. G7 and ASEAN Ministers welcomed their growing engagement and noted that all G7 members were now ASEAN Strategic, Dialogue or Development Partners, following the confirmation of the UK as a Dialogue Partner earlier this year. The meetings built upon discussions with the ASEAN Chair at the G7 Meeting of Foreign and Development Ministers in the UK in May 2021.
We discussed our many shared interests, including in open markets, sustainable and quality infrastructure, regional stability, and sustainable development across the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. We reaffirmed our support for ASEAN Centrality, an open and inclusive, rules- based regional architecture, and the importance of ensuring peace, stability, prosperity and adherence to international law in South East Asia. We reaffirmed our support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which envisages ASEAN Centrality as the underlying principle for promoting cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. We reaffirmed our shared interest in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region, in accordance with the principles contained in the AOIP, including inclusivity and respect for internatoinal law. With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing, new cybersecurity threats mounting, and the catastrophic effects of climate change increasing, our cooperation is all the more important.
We underscored the importance of the G7 and ASEAN working together to mobilise resources from the private sector, international financial institutions and multilateral development banks to meet global infrastructure development needs. We also discussed the importance of developing a pipeline of projects in partnership with the private sector to meet vital infrastructure needs in ASEAN Member States. These should support economic growth and sustainable development, creating employment in the industries of the future, whilst ensuring that this infrastructure is sustainable and resilient. We recognised the importance of maintaining resilient global supply chains and supporting global economic recovery by keeping markets open to trade and investment, in accordance with countries' respective commitments within the international rules-based system. We underscored the importance of the G7 and ASEAN working together to advance gender equality.
We welcomed the G7's continued commitment to speed up vaccine supply and support further innovation to develop more effective vaccines against Covid-19 and future health threats. We discussed how G7 cooperation with ASEAN, including through ASEAN-led mechanisms, could strengthen the region's response to the pandemic, including through dose sharing, strengthened and open supply chains, expanded vaccine manufacturing capacity through voluntary licencing, transfer of technology, and the transparent deployment of Covid-19 vaccines in ASEAN Member States.
We recognised the importance of digital, technology and cyber cooperation, demonstrated by their role in the immediate response to the Covid-19 pandemic and in the effort towards a comprehensive recovery from the pandemic. We emphasised the importance of working together to achieve the enormous potential of digital, technology and cybersecurity to deliver global prosperity and security, adhering to shared values, and of G7 countries working with ASEAN Member States to support capacity building and resilience in response to cyber threats.
We reaffirmed our shared commitment to the United Nations framework for responsible State behaviour in cyberspace, including the applicability of international law, support for implementation of voluntary, non-binding norms, confidence-building measures, as well as support for cyber capacity building. We underscored the importance of implementing this framework, as well as working towards improved understandings of how existing international law applies to State conduct in cyberspace including through the sharing of national positions on this topic.
We reaffirmed the importance of upholding international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We reaffirmed that the Convention sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the ocean and seas must be carried out, and is of strategic importance as the basis for national, regional and global action and cooperation in the marine sector.
We discussed the situation in the South China Sea, during which concerns were expressed on the land reclamations, activities, serious incidents in the area, including damage to the marine environment, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions, and may undermine peace, security, and stability in the region. We underscored the importance of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that is in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
We welcomed maritime cooperation between the G7 members and ASEAN Member States and encouraged intensified cooperation in promoting maritime security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight, addressing transnational crime at sea, creating a conducive environment for peaceful settlement of disputes, marine sustainability, providing humanitarian assistance to persons and vessels in distress at sea, combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, promoting maritime connectivity and commerce, and strengthening marine scientific research. This should be done in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, and the relevant instruments and conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as well as the relevant Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
We expressed deep concern about developments in Myanmar. We underlined our support for the immediate and full implementation of ASEAN's Five Point Consensus, which includes: the immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and for all parties to exercise utmost restraint; constructive dialogue among all parties concerned to commence to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people of Myanmar; the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair to facilitate mediation of the dialogue process; ASEAN to provide humanitarian assistance through the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre); and the Special Envoy to visit Myanmar to meet with all parties concerned. We expressed deep concern over recent developments in Myanmar and called for the immediate release of all political detainees, including foreigners. We recalled the UN General Assembly resolution of 18 June, which called on all countries to prevent the flow of arms to Myanmar. We reaffirmed the readiness of the G7 to support ASEAN's efforts to help Myanmar find a durable and peaceful solution in a positive and constructive manner. We expressed deep concern at instability and violence across Myanmar.
We stressed the importance of creating the conditions in Rakhine to enable the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya to their place of origin in the Rakhine State. We reiterated our collective support for a more visible and enhanced role of the AHA Centre, the UN and the international community to support Myanmar by providing humanitarian assistance, facilitating and creating a conducive environment for the repatriation process to commence, and promoting sustainable development in Rakhine State.
We welcomed this engagement and cooperation between the G7 and ASEAN, which is important for tackling shared global and regional challenges, and looked forward to closer cooperation between the G7 and ASEAN, including through the existing ASEAN-led mechanisms.
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