ACD Ambassadorial Retreat
2 July 2002, 11.00-12.15 hrs.
Bua Keow Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Secretary Tej Bunnag
for coming to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs once again. Since
our meeting in Cha-Am, Deputy Permanent Secretary has already
met with you. I do not want to repeat what has been said. Nevertheless
I wish to thank all of you once again for your representation
and participation in the meeting in Cha-Am, which was a success
beyond all expectations. The participants were able to reach
a level of comfort far more rapidly than expected. I would like
to thank you again for entrusting us with the task as ACD coordinator
for the next 12 months. In Cha-Am we have set the date of 20-21
June for the next meeting in Chiang Rai. So thank you all again
for coming to the ambassadorial retreat. I have the pleasure
to host lunch afterwards.
of the meeting today is to ask you whether you have received
from your capitals any feedback or general impressions on the
first ACD meeting, any suggestions on the process of the ACD
framework for the next 12 months. Another objective of the meeting
is to establish networking among us.
the meeting started, the Brunei Ambassador asked me whether
there are any agendas for the meeting today. The answer is we
have not prepared any agenda for today. I would like to reaffirm
that ACD belongs to all participating countries. This applies
to all ambassadors here. It belongs to all of us equally. I
would like to emphasize that it is an inclusive, evolving, informal
and non-institutionalized process. We would like to listen to
you as much as possible and as a reminder to keep up the momentum.
We only have 11 months left before the next meeting. If any
of you have anything to say, I wish to invite and welcome you
to take the floor.
d'Affaires Nafees Zakaria (Pakistan)
for inviting us to express our views. The feedback from my capital
generally assessed the ACD meeting last month a success. The
meeting received 100% response from the countries invited. The
discussions on the areas of cooperation were very much relevant
in all contexts. The meeting agreed that ACD has 2 components;
the dialogue component which is informal and non-institutionalized,
and the project component.
I wish to
suggest that the project component must be formal and institutionalized
without which it can not be achieved. We can think of something
similar to international standardization of products. We have
indirectly and directly looked upon what the European Union
has achieved, which can also be a target of the ACD. In this
context the concept of value added and development chains must
be an institutionalized arrangement with a view to keeping up
with diversities and different levels (very high and very low)
of outputs, and bridging the existing gaps in Asia. My personal
suggestion is that this could be done in the form of ISO Asian
standard. This is in line with ACD's evolving process which
every present ACD country as well as future members could provide
information on their leading industries and products to be standardized
by groups of experts. This requires a certain amount of details,
which could be further discussed. As for the prime movers, any
country can be the prime mover in one area. A country can also
be the prime mover in more than one area particularly in the
provision of expertise.
Secretary Tej Bunnag
very much for opening the floor and reminding us of the 2 components
of ACD, namely dialogue and project components. Thank you for
your suggestion that the project component should be institutionalized.
In our way of thinking, Foreign Ministers started off with the
dialogue part and in 12 months they will resume the dialogue
part again. In the meantime, I think that prime movers would
be the leader in the dialogue and project parts of the subjects
they are interested. For example, Pakistan could become the
prime mover in Asian ISO subject.
will dispatch Thai ACD people from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
at various levels on visits to ACD capitals to discuss this
matter and see if any ACD capitals will be prime movers in any
areas of cooperation. In Cha-Am meeting, Bangladesh's Foreign
Minister was very much interested in poverty alleviation, Singaporean
Foreign Minister in SMEs, Japanese Foreign Minister in cooperation
for prosperity and non-traditional security issues, Malaysian
Foreign Minister in global fund for development. Therefore,
once we will have gotten over AMM/PMC, we would dispatch ACD
officials to ACD capitals to discuss these issues.
Hemayet Uddin (Bangladesh)
for inviting us to follow up. I would like to say that ACD was
a great success. My Foreign Minister had briefed our government
on what was achieved in Cha-Am. The response was very positive.
Bangladesh would like to be associated with ACD. What was achieved
were small steps. The questions concerning ACD's basic ideas
and how to identify areas of cooperation should be further discussed.
We are waiting for that before we come up with concrete plans.
As far as poverty alleviation is concerned, Bangladesh has made
Secretary Tej Bunnag
As I have mentioned earlier, we're sending ACD teams to your
capitals at the latest August / September this year.
Atsushi Tokinoya (Japan)
very much. The feedback from our capital is rather general.
Tokyo appreciates and supports Thailand's initiative in launching
ACD. Foreign Ministers' initial meeting was successful. Nevertheless,
it is not easy to see how this process will further evolve in
years to come. On the one hand, the 2 components will continue.
On the other hand, it is difficult to identify areas of cooperation
among ACD countries. It might take time before we could identify
areas of cooperation. Tokyo hopes that Thailand will continue
to lead ACD process and identify specific areas of cooperation.
I welcome Thailand's sending ACD teams to ACD capitals.
Secretary Tej Bunnag
of ACD components very much belongs to Foreign Minister Kawaguchi.
I'll travel to Japan on 12 July 2002 and will further discuss
this matter with my Japanese colleagues.
Yan Ting-ai (China)
satisfied with the achievements made by the first ACD Foreign
Ministerial Retreat and regards the meeting an overall success.
China will continue to support the development of ACD.
For the priority
areas of ACD cooperation, Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr. Tang
Jiaxuan, has already pointed out clearly that from the reality
and need of the Asian countries, agriculture, information industry,
infrastructure, trade and investment, tourism and human resource
development can be the key areas. Of course China's position
on this issue is flexible and open, China will also make positive
studies on the reasonable proposals made by other countries
As for the
geographical coverage of ACD membership, China holds that a
too large scale of ACD members is not feasible during the initial
stage, and the recruitment of new members should be conducted
in proper sequence. ACD may be composed by countries mainly
from east and south Asia while also taking in some other Asian
countries as well. The participation of non-Asian countries
should be given careful consideration and now it does not seem
to be the right time.
is undertaking a study on presiding over one or two cooperative
areas, and the preliminary idea is that China may sponsor one
or two personnel exchange programmes to promote mutual understanding
among ACD countries. Meanwhile, China is working on how to bring
BOAO Forum for Asia (BFA) into play to support the development
of ACD. BFA is planning to hold a "Boao Asia Tourism Conference"
in Guilin, Guangxi Province this November and China is thinking
of inviting ACD members concerned to join in the conference.
Secretary Tej Bunnag
From the beginning, the Prime Minister envisages ACD and Boao
Forum for Asia to be parallel processes. In Prime Minister's
keynote speech, there is a linkage between ACD and Boao Forum.
Therefore, the Chinese invitation for ACD countries to participate
in the Boao Asia Tourism Conference is very much in line with
the direction of ACD. Today one country is missing, namely Bahrain.
I'll instruct our Ambassador in Kuwait to go to Bahrain to brief
the Bahrainis as soon as possible.
for raising the question of geographical coverage of ACD. At
the initial stage, there was an idea of setting up a core group.
But at the end we came up with this number of 18 countries.
Since the ACD meeting, there have been at least 3 West Asian
countries, which approached us to be invited to participate
in ACD, and we will let you know of the coming talks. As you
have noted from the Chairman's Statement which can be considered
as the guiding principle on geographical coverage, ACD is inclusive
and Asia-wide. We take note of your suggestions that if there
are too many participants, it will be unmanageable and instead,
should be taken step by step and we will closely consult with
you on geographical coverage. Also, if there is a SOM, China
would support it. We would like to repeat that as far as political
leadership is concerned, ACD is a top-down process, which is
a matter of political leadership to set the political agenda
for a political dialogue. The politicians may not want this
dialogue to be like other dialogues that are very bureaucratic.
Choi Hyuck (South Korea)
received broad and general feedback from our capital. We also
congratulate the Thai government in launching the ACD. A broad
consensus for participation in the meetings is needed. The real
question is how to proceed. For the time being, ideas are being
floated, and we welcome the Thai initiative to send a team to
various capitals between August and September 2002 and would
like to receive the scheduled visits and discuss with officials
and maybe prepare reference papers. Today's discussions is to
pick up the ideas expressed. There should clearly be a roadmap
if we don't have the process of a SOM. The next process would
be to evaluate our consultations on how to identify areas of
cooperation, and initiate prime movers on this. A working model
of the APEC process is the APEC initiative on monetary and fiscal
arrangements which our ACD should be complimentary to this.
For ACD, the projects should be feasible and only one or two
projects are enough.
coverage, ACD should eventually expand to cover all Asian countries,
but we have to determine by what steps. South Korea look forward
to meeting with Thai ACD team, and discussing on the IT sector
and particularly HRD.
Secretary Tej Bunnag
for the intervention. On how to expand ACD and roadmap of the
ACD, as far as Thailand is concerned, for the month of July
2002, we have arranged follow-up sessions and briefed the rest
of the diplomatic corps. In August - September 2002 we will
be dispatching senior ACD representatives to engage with our
counterparts on follow-up actions. I will be in Tokyo on 12
July and will start on the follow-ups straightaway, and the
Thai team will visit all ACD countries by August-September.
Also, perhaps ACD Foreign Ministers could meet for a working
breakfast or lunch at the UNGA in New York to follow up on Madame
Kawaguchi's on regular dialogues and exchanges.
the Thai Foreign Ministry will be constructing an ACD website,
www.acd.go.th, which will be launched as soon
as possible, and we will inform you when it is ready so that we
can receive views and comments as fast as possible. Our political
leaders want to do without the SOM, through e-government, e-contact,
therefore, we will open the website as soon as possible, and avoid
working groups as much as possible.
Do Ngoc Son (Vietnam)
for the invitation today. We have received feedback regarding
the results of ACD, and the Vietnamese government supports the
ACD and highly appreciates the efforts of Thailand in hosting
this first ACD meeting. The participation at the Ministerial
level at the Meeting demonstrates the interest of all our countries
and the necessity in pushing Asian cooperation into full play
for our benefits. The success of the first ACD Meeting urges
us to take further steps to advance new dialogue channels which
will compliment and enrich the mechanisms in Asia for the benefits
of all Asians.
areas of cooperation, Vietnam believes that given ACD cooperation,
we should compliment the existing mechanisms of dialogues and
see how to compliment these existing mechanisms. Focus is needed
on economic cooperation which is the top priority of our national
agenda. There are differences in levels of development in the
region, therefore, attention should be given to less developed
countries on how to narrow the gap.
On the matter
of proceeding with the ACD, ACD should be conducted step by
step and be open to all Asians to join in and to do this, ACD
members should carefully consider this matter, but should keep
this open to all. Vietnam appreciates Thailand sending mission
to capitals within the next 12 months.
Secretary Tej Bunnag
for your comments and agree completely on the project side of
the ACD which should not be a duplication of what has already
been done in other fora such as ASEAN, ASEAN+3 and ESCAP. We
should be complimentary to what has already been done. The key
words still come from the ACD theme given at Cha-Am, "How
to consolidate our strengths?" which captures the whole
purpose of the ACD dialogue. Foreign Ministers Kawaguchi of
Japan and Foreign Minister Jayakumar of Singapore have emphasized
that to date Asia has only sub-regional organizations and linkages
between sub-regions. ACD will be the missing link where all
sub-regional links are linked together, which is a great innovation
would be a great elevation of the ACD and is what we are working
L.K. Ponappa (India)
feedback on ACD from our Finance Minister who took part in Cha-Am
and will be taking on the role of Foreign Minister and based
on the feedback received afterwards, is that ACD is an important
and useful beginning in setting us the challenging task of finding
a unique role for ourselves in Asia. We need to avoid duplication
and should compliment what is already being done. India is supportive
of the ACD and looks forward to a Thai team arriving New Delhi
for consultations. Our Minister had emphasized the need for
ACD to set overarching economic goals including elimination
of poverty through measures for infrastructure development,
energy cooperation, education and HRD. We should try to be creative
in addressing these concerns. We support the need for a roadmap,
pending which networking could begin. We are ready to receive
the Thai team. It will help to bring focus and assist ACD to
define its role. We are convinced that ACD has to be inclusive
as its purpose could otherwise come into question. Therefore,
the move towards being inclusive is important. Lastly, we would
like to express our appreciation of the initiative to hold an
informal dialogues here.
Secretary Tej Bunnag
I will be
in Japan on 12 July, Hanoi on 3 August and meeting with my counterpart
on 7 August, therefore, I will be starting on the ACD follow-up
sessions during these dates.
Ambassador Dato' Syed Norulzaman (Malaysia)
like to share the general but positive impression of my capital
on the results of the first ACD Meeting, which are positive.
The first ACD meeting was a successful session, which is a good
beginning of what we are trying to achieve. The general consensus
is to avoid duplication and to compliment existing frameworks
whilst having an incremental and step by step approach. We are
glad to hear that Thailand is sending a team between August
and October 2002 as we need advice and wish to have a better
understanding of the process. Apart from the consultations that
we are having now among ourselves, we also need the consultation
process within the capital too which is an important aspect.
Tomorrow the ACD process will start in Malaysia as formal submission
of the meeting in Cha-Am will be made then.
is interested in the ACD on three areas : e-commerce, fund for
global development, and fund for poverty alleviation in Asia.
The ACD meeting in UNGA will receive good response from KL since
it was also our own thinking in Cha-Am. What we should focus
on is how to link the sub-regional organizations of which there
are organizations that already have common projects and we should
therefore look to whatever is common as may be a way to link
these sub-regional organizations.
Secretary Tej Bunnag
that all of our Foreign Ministers will be New York for UNGA
for the week starting 16 September. I would like to conclude
that ACD is an evolving process and belongs to all. That is
why you are all invited here and we appreciate your sparing
the time to come. From time to time your cooperation will be
needed, and I wish to be able to invite you all to such a retreat
again if you do not mind and hope that you will accept my invitation.
Thank you very much.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand
2 July 2002
BIMST - EC
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