The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman attended the 18th ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the 7th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum and addressed various issues, including future direction of the respective ASEAN mechanisms and regional and international issues.

2. Since its inception in 1997, the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) cooperation framework has become an important mechanism in fostering East Asian regionalism. The APT cooperation has broadened and deepened cooperative activities over the years, and the 18thASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting adopted the new ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan (2018-2022), towards achieving the long-term goal of establishing an East Asia community.

3. The Minister of Foreign Affairs welcomed the adoption of the new Work Plan and commended the achievements of ASEAN Plus Three which include among others the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), the ASEAN Plus Three Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), the Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI) and the establishment of a Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility (CGIF).

4. During the 7th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of EAS as a Leaders’-led forum to discuss broad strategic, political and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity.

5. The Minister of Foreign Affairs reiterated the importance of ASEAN’s central role in the evolving regional architecture. In this regard, the Meeting reaffirmed that EAS would continue to be an open, inclusive, transparent and outward-looking forum that would strengthen global norms and universally recognised principles with ASEAN as the driving force.

6. At the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Ministers emphasised the importance of the ARF as the primary forum for constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of mutual interest and concern in the Asia-Pacific region. They recognised that the ARF has been successful in bringing together diverse participants in promoting peace and stability in the region on the basis of consultations and consensus and moving forward at a pace comfortable to all ARF participants.

7. During the EAS and ARF meetings, the Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke on three issues, namely, counter terrorism and violent extremism, South China Sea and situation in the Korean Peninsula. On terrorism the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated:

The rise of terrorist attacks all around the world has cast a shadow over us. The brutal and heinous attacks have taken countless innocent lives, caused too many injuries and too many destructions.

Malaysia believes that we must take steps to protect our peoples, not only from the violence and brutality of the extremists, but also from their deceptions, particularly on the digital space. In line with this effort, Malaysia has successfully established our national and regional digital counter messaging centre in 2016. We hope that this initiative will address the threat posed by terrorist messaging, particularly on the digital platform.

Malaysia has also incorporated deradicalisation and rehabilitation programmes towards changing the mind-set of radicalised extremist individuals. These programmes, complemented by various forms of humanitarian assistance to facilitate their reintegration into society, have shown a success rate of 97.5 per cent. Malaysia is sharing its programmes with several countries, including ARF Participating Countries.

8. On South China Sea, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated:

South China Sea is one of the busiest and most important sea�lane of communication. We call on all parties to work together in a positive, constructive and peaceful manner, and ensure peace, security and stability, as well as uphold freedom of navigation in and over�flight above the South China Sea.

ASEAN and China are working together to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea or the DOC in its entirety.

Malaysia believes that adherence to international law, including UNCLOS 1982, upholding the supremacy of the rule of law, exercising maximum self�restraint in the conduct of activities, commitment to non�militarisation and avoiding the threat or use of force are critical in furthering peace, security and stability, and must be the foundation for conduct and engagement of all parties in the South China Sea.

ASEAN and China have adopted the Framework of the Code of Conduct. Negotiation on the COC is expected to commence and we are hopeful that the COC could be established in the very near future.

9. On Korean Peninsula, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated:

Malaysia deplores provocative actions by the DPRK that would only escalate the already tense situation in the Korean Peninsula and seriously impact the prospect of lasting international peace and security. In this regard, Malaysia strongly urges DPRK to discontinue such programme, and fully comply immediately with all relevant UNSC Resolutions.

Malaysia remains convinced that the interests of the DPRK would be best served by its immediate return to the negotiating table. Malaysia urges the DPRK to recommit itself to peaceful dialogue and negotiations under the Six-Party Talks framework. Malaysia believes that all efforts should aim at reaffirming the commitment to maintaining regional peace and security, and establishing a peaceful environment in the Korean Peninsula.

Malaysia calls upon all relevant parties to exercise maximum restraint and refrain from undertaking provocative or counter-productive actions. Malaysia also calls upon all relevant parties to come up with suggestions on concretes steps to achieve peaceful solution in the Korean Peninsula.

10. Prior to these events, the Minister of Foreign Affairs also attended the Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC) with 10 ASEAN Dialogue Partners namely, Australia, Canada, China, European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and United States. The PMC meetings provided an important platform to focus on political and security, economic and trade as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.

11. The Minister of Foreign Affairs also had bilateral meetings with his counterparts from China, India, New Zealand, Singapore and Sri Lanka, to not only reaffirm the excellent relations, but to enhance future directions with clear set of priorities.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia