Statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the 5th East Asia Summit, Hanoi, October 30, 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all I would like to carry out the assignment of President Dmitry Medvedev and convey on his behalf to all those present the best wishes and words of gratitude for the support of Russia's entry into the East Asia Summit (EAS).
Separately I would like to thank our Vietnamese friends for inviting me to attend the 5th East Asia Summit as a special guest, along with US Secretary of Hillary Clinton.
Back in 2005, Russia made a conscious choice in favor of the EAS. We fully share the goals of the Forum – to strengthen peace and stability and provide economic prosperity in East Asia. We stand ready to work together to actively promote their achievement.
Today, the task of establishing a more perfect security and cooperation architecture in the vast Asia-Pacific area has gained special significance. We are witnessing the shift of world economic and political weight to the Asia-Pacific region, which certainly opens up broad prospects for it. But in order to safely equip our common home, to ensure the welfare and peace of every country, effective instruments are needed for maintaining stability and reinforcing mutual trust and understanding.
To achieve these goals, much is being done through the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). In Southeast Asia, the ASEAN Security Community is being formed. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has firmly established itself as an effective mechanism for ensuring regional peace. The recently created format of Meetings of Defense Ministers of the ASEAN Member States and Dialogue Partners appears promising.
It should, however, be acknowledged that so far, security problems in the AP region are considered fragmentarily, mainly in relation to specific sub-regions. Issues such as WMD nonproliferation, greater military transparency and confidence-building measures are "scattered" across various dialogue venues. The EAS is the forum that could take on the task of consolidating the regional security agenda and establishing a strategic dialogue to promote it in all aspects. Security is inherently indivisible, and to ensure it requires a comprehensive and systemic approach.
It is this idea that lies at the base of the joint Russia-China initiative to reinforce Asia-Pacific security, launched during President Medvedev's visit to the PRC this past September. We suggest that all of the region's states reaffirm their commitment to the fundamental principles of international law, and renounce confrontation and attempts to enhance their own security at neighbors' expense. We invite partners to discuss and implement the measures to establish an open, transparent and equitable Asia-Pacific security and cooperation architecture based on legal and non-bloc principles.
We share the EAS cooperation priorities. We are disposed to work together towards financial stability and energy security. We are also willing to jointly tackle climate change problems and to develop collaborative efforts in the areas of emergency response, education and health care. We have already established cooperation with the Asian-Pacific countries on these topics, bilaterally, through the dialogue partnership with ASEAN, in the ARF, SCO, Russia-India-China, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Asia Cooperation Dialogue and other formats. All that has been developed by us and our partners over the past years, we are ready to share with the EAS participants.
The global financial and economic crisis has shown the vulnerability of the global economy and finance, and sharply raised the question of modernization and innovative development. That is why we have embarked on creating a high-tech model of the Russian economy and building modernization alliances with the states of the AP region. The solution of these tasks will be facilitated by the active involvement of Russia, especially its Siberia and Far East, in the momentum gaining integration processes in the region.
Energy security and energy efficiency are acquiring particular relevance in light of the lessons of the crisis. Without solving these problems, long-term sustainable economic growth in the AP region cannot be expected. Therefore, it is necessary that within the EAS framework joint research continues in the areas of more efficient use of traditional energy resources, the search for alternative energy sources, and the protection of the environment. It is equally important to proceed with the improvement of the legal framework for international energy cooperation which would take into account the interests of exporters of hydrocarbons, their consumers and transit countries alike.
Another hot topic under consideration in the EAS is the elimination of consequences of natural and manmade disasters. Leaders of the EAS member countries have rightly pointed out the need for better preparedness to withstand the elements and creating for this purpose a regional network of emergency response. This approach is consonant with the Russian idea of integration of the national centers for management and information of Asian countries into a single partner network – by analogy with what we're successfully doing in cooperation with European partners.
EAS, of course, cannot remain aloof from the process of liberalizing trade and the movement of capital and services. We are ready to participate in the discussion on this topic, the more so as – like other Asian-Pacific countries – we're taking our own steps in that direction. As is known, for almost a year now the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan has been in place. The question of concluding by our country bilateral preferential agreements with New Zealand and Vietnam is being elaborated.
The richness of civilizations, cultures and religions intrinsic to the AP region is our common heritage. However, this is also a shared responsibility – to make sure that people of different cultures and religions live in harmony with each other. We regard the development of contacts between people, promotion of inter-civilization and interfaith dialogue, and the use of the potential of civil society, business and media for this purpose as one of the important missions of the EAS. It is about a fundamental condition for regional security – the reinforcement of mutual trust and understanding among nations and the achievement of "unity in diversity."
East Asia Summits now bring together eighteen of the leading states in the region. This gives us confidence that the EAS will be able to play a special role in nurturing partnerships between various organizations and forums of the AP region.
Thank you for your attention.