ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich, interview for RIA Novosti on the upcoming ministerial conference Russia-ASEAN, the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of countries participating in East Asia Summits and the 19th session of the Regional ASEAN Security Forum
Question: How would you comment on the participation of the delegation headed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs I.V. Morgulov in annual events in terms of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on July 11-12 in the context of Russian directed at strengthening the connections with countries of the Asian and Pacific Rim?
Answer: The participation of Russian delegation in the ministerial conference Russia-ASEAN, the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of countries participating in East Asia Summits (EAS) and the 19th session of the Regional ASEAN Security Forum (ARF) is the part of our efforts being made to implement the course at consolidating the positions of Russia with countries of the Asian and Pacific Rim, which has been determined by the President of the Russian Federation. Our active engagement into the integration processes of the region will favour the more effective use of the possibilities of cooperation with China, the USA, India, Japan, South Korea, member states of ASEAN to the benefit of modernization and innovation development of Russia's economy, social and economic development of Siberia and the Far East.
Question: Which questions are to be discussed at the ministerial conference Russia-ASEAN?
Answer: I would like to emphasize that the development of the dialogue partnership with the Association, which EAS established in 1996, is one of the main directions of Russian foreign policy in the Asian and Pacific Rim. The mutual preparedness to boost the relations in all directions and effectively cooperate at the international arena was confirmed at two summits – in Malaysia in 2005 and in Vietnam in 2010. A solid contractual basis and the efficient structure of Russia-ASEAN working mechanisms, including the regular meetings on economy issues, energy sector, counteraction to the transnational crime, on tourism, contribute to the aforementioned purposes.
The ministerial conference Russia-ASEAN will focus on the issues of development of practical connections with the Association in terms of bringing the economic partnership to the level of political dialogue. In this context it is meant to emphasize the necessity of the soonest adoption of roadmap of the trade-economic and investment cooperation, which will stipulate the concrete measures for advancement of cooperation with the Association in terms of transport, in energy sector, telecommunications, agriculture and industry. We plan to discuss with partners the prospects of the substantial consideration of the mutual trade liberalization.
At the meeting the priority will be given to the implementation of joint high-tech projects in the field of renewable energy and environmentally safe technologies, education, biotechnologies and use of space technologies. The agenda also includes the activation of cooperation in terms of emergency response, particularly the contacts establishment between Russian National Centre of Crisis Situations Management and ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Centre.
The activity of the ASEAN Centre of MGIMO, which was established in 2010, is extremely important in terms of improvement of the informational background of the dialogue partnership with the association. The website of the Centre, which will be presented and launched at the ministerial conference of Russia-ASEAN, is to become a useful source of information about the existing opportunities of cooperation between the scientific, social and business circles of Russia and ASEAN.
Question: What is the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of countries participating in East Asia Summits?
Answer: I will remind you that EAS mechanism, which was created in 2005 at the initiative of ASEAN in order to consolidate peace, stability and economic prosperity in the Asian and Pacific Rim, unites 10 countries of ASEAN and also Australia, India, China, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, the USA and Japan. Russia officially joined the forum (at the same time as the USA) at the 5th East Asia Summit in Hanoi, in October 2010.
The main topic of the ministerial meeting will be the preparation and substantive content of the 7th East Asia Summit, which will take place on November 17-20 this year in Phnom Penh, in terms of the annual events of ASEAN at the highest level. The meeting will feature the analysis of the implementation process of joint programmes in the main fields of cooperation including energy sector, financial field, education, healthcare, prevention of emergencies and elimination of their consequences, which have been launched within the Association. It is also planned to discuss a number of the relevant international and regional issues.
By virtue of its potential, EAS is to become firmly established as a ground for strategic dialogue of leaders of the Asian and Pacific Rim states on the conceptual issues of regional development including security ensuring. We proceed from the fact that such format is for really major issues, which are of fundamental importance for future development of the region in terms of strategic stability as well as economic development.
Question: What are the approaches of Russia to the activity of the Regional ASEAN Security Forum?
Answer: Russia is actively boosting its participation in ARF. We consider this forum to be the main tool of practical interaction for peace and stability maintenance in Asian and Pacific Region.
The established practice is that the discussion at ARF is focused on the critical regional and international issues, such as situation in Korea, nuclear dossier of Iran, situation in Syria and Afghanistan, situation at the South China Sea, counterterrorism, piracy and other kinds of transnational crime.
We stand for the solution of these problems solely in political and diplomatic way, acting according to the current regulations of the international law and using the potential of ARF anf other multilateral associations existing in the region.
The ARF application on cyber-security proposed by Russia, the working plans on the emergency response, non-proliferation and disarmament and a number of other conceptual documents necessary to increase the practical efficiency of forum activity are to be adopted at the end of the meeting.
July 9, 2012