Chairman's Statement, 1st Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum Manila

on Tuesday, 09 October 2012. Posted in 2012, Statement & Communiques

1. The 1st Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) was held in Manila, Philippines on 5 October 2012. It was chaired by the Honorable Erlinda F. Basilio, Undersecretary for Policy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) Leader of the Philippines. It was attended by government and non-government delegates from the East Asia Summit (EAS) participating countries, namely: the ten ASEAN Member States, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and the United States of America, and the ASEAN Secretariat.


2. The 1st Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) was convened in response to the statement of the ASEAN Leaders, as well as the Leaders of the East Asia Summit (EAS), in Bali, Indonesia in November 2011, who encouraged a “dialogue involving EAS participating countries to utilize opportunities and address common challenges on maritime issues building upon the existing ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF),” wherein they also “positively noted the proposal of convening an expanded AMF, back-to-back with the future meetings of the AMF, to include countries in the wider East Asia region.”


3. In her opening remarks, Undersecretary Basilio noted that the inaugural Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) would enhance the EAS cooperation not only in the geographical sense, but also in the participation of relevant stakeholders, such as international organizations, maritime training institutes, ship owners, the academe, and civil society. She stressed that strengthening maritime security and cooperation through the ASEAN Maritime Forum and the Expanded Maritime forum can contribute significantly to ASEAN community-building efforts by promoting a peaceful, more integrated and prosperous ASEAN within a stable, diverse and dynamic East Asia.


4. In his remarks, Ambassador Kan Pharidh, Permanent Representative of Cambodia to ASEAN and Chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN, emphasized the importance of the Phnom Penh Declaration on ASEAN: One Community, One Destiny, where the ASEAN Leaders reaffirmed their commitment at the 20th ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh in April 2012 to enhance and expand ASEAN maritime cooperation and joint collaborative efforts in marine related fields.


5. His Excellency Koji Tsuruoka, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, served as keynote speaker. In his speech, he stressed the importance of international cooperation and order at sea under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) framework; the need to establish maritime order depending on characteristics of each region in accordance with relevant international law, including UNCLOS; the importance of identifying tangible areas of cooperation on maritime issues among the EAS member countries; and the significance of ASEAN centrality and integrity in addressing maritime issues in the Asia-Pacific region.


6. The delegates welcomed positively the inaugural meeting of the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) as an avenue for Track 1.5 diplomacy on cross-cutting maritime issues that are of common concern to the EAS participating countries. They emphasized the importance of ASEAN centrality, in partnership with other EAS participants, in the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum process.


7. Discussions during the 1st Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) focused on the following: the relevance of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in today’s context, maritime connectivity and capacity building, infrastructure and equipment upgrading, seafarers’ training, protecting the marine environment, promoting eco-tourism and fishery regime in East Asia, and identifying best practices of cooperation.

8. On the relevance of the UNCLOS in today’s context, delegates recognized the importance of universally-recognized principles of international law, specifically UNCLOS, in providing a rules-based framework for maritime security and cooperation in the region, as well as for addressing the issue of conflicting claims. In this regard, delegates also highlighted the importance of the regional agreements and arrangements such as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and the eventual adoption of a regional Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea on the basis of consensus. Resource speakers for this session on UNCLOS in Today’s Context were Mr. Richard Rowe, Senior Legal Adviser, International Organisations and Legal Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia; Ambassador Chen Shiqiu of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China; and Ms. Tara Davenport, Research Fellow, Centre for International Law of the National University of Singapore.


9. Delegates exchanged views on the prospects of enhancing maritime connectivity by looking at strategies for capacity building, including infrastructure and equipment. There was also an extensive discussion on seafarers’ training. Resource speakers for this session on Maritime Connectivity and Capacity Building: Infrastructure and Equipment Upgrading and Seafarers’ Training were Mr. Joseph Y. Yun, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State, United States of America; Mr. Lim Chinsoo; Senior Research Fellow, Korea Maritime Institute, Republic of Korea; Capt. Khoo Gek Hung, Principal Marine Surveyor, Training Standards Department, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore; and Mr. Jeremiah Acena, Team Leader- ASEAN RO-RO Connectivity Project, REID (Research Education and Institutional Development) Foundation, Inc.


10. Delegates welcomed the proposal of the United States to partner with an ASEAN Member State to establish an expanded ASEAN Seafarers’ Training Program (EAST) to conduct a series of training seminars, workshops, and events to promote cooperation in the field of training and education of civilian maritime personnel. Detailed proposal would be circulated in due course. They also noted the announcement of the intent of the United States to join the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).


11. On protecting the marine environment, delegates discussed various perspectives and best practices on cooperation for the protection of the region’s marine resources, ways to promote eco-tourism and sustainable and responsible fisheries management and fishery development as well as the involvement of all stakeholders, including local communities. Resource speakers for this session on Protecting the Marine Environment and Promoting Eco-Tourism and Fishery Regime in East Asia: Identifying Best Practices of Cooperation were Mr. Ichiro Nomura, Former Assistant Director-General of Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Senior Principal Research Fellow of the University of Tokyo Ocean Alliance, Japan; Ms. Karen N. Scott, Associate Professor in Law, Proctor, Editor, New Zealand Yearbook of International Law, School of Law, University of Canterbury, New Zealand; Dr. Marie Antonette Menez, Director, Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines; Dr. Firdaus Agung Kunto Kurniawan, Assistant Deputy Director for Conservation Area Design, Directorate of Marine and Aquatic Resources Conservation, Directorate General
of Marine, Coastal and Small Islands, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia; and Mr. Oleg Rykov, Counsellor (Fisheries), Embassy of the Russian Federation, Washington D.C.

12. Delegates looked forward to the holding of the 2nd Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) to be held back-to-back with the 4th ASEAN Maritime Forum in 2013.