The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Fumio Kishida, the Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, Julie Bishop, met in Vientiane, Laos on 25 July 2016, for the sixth ministerial meeting of the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD).

The ministers welcomed the growing positive impact of the strategic partnership between Japan, the United States and Australia, and reaffirmed the importance of TSD policy coordination and practical cooperation. They reiterated their commitment to further deepening their cooperation to ensure a peaceful, stable, and prosperous future for the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

The ministers reiterated the importance of upholding the rules-based maritime order including in the Asia Pacific region and the Indian Ocean. They called on all states to respect freedom of navigation and overflight. They reaffirmed the importance of states’ making and clarifying their claims based on international law, including the 1982 United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), not using force or coercion in trying to advance their claims, and seeking to settle disputes by peaceful means including through legal processes such as arbitration.

The ministers expressed their serious concerns over maritime disputes in the South China Sea. The ministers voiced their strong opposition to any coercive unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions, underlined the importance of refraining from unilateral actions that cause permanent physical change to the marine environment in areas pending delimitation, and urged all states to refrain from such actions as large-scale land reclamation, and the construction of outposts as well as the use of those outposts for military purposes.  The ministers expressed their strong support for the rule of law and called on China and the Philippines to abide by the Arbitral Tribunal’s Award of July 12 in the Philippines-China arbitration, which is final and legally binding on both parties.  The ministers stressed that this is a crucial opportunity for the region to uphold the existing rules-based international order and to show respect for international law.

The ministers also opposed any coercive or unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions in the East China Sea and will remain in close communication about the situation in the area.

The ministers welcomed the development of trilateral cooperation on maritime security capacity -building in Southeast Asia. The ministers resolved to advance this cooperation through ongoing exchanges of information and dialogue on regional needs.  They reiterated the commitment of the three nations to continue coordinating their respective assistance programs and to identify ways we can more closely collaborate in the future. 

The ministers condemned in the strongest terms North Korea’s nuclear test in January and its subsequent ballistic missile launches which were conducted in violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions. They urged North Korea to immediately and fully comply with relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 2270, and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and not to conduct any further provocation. They also urged North Korea to end its human rights violations and resolve the abductions issue immediately.

The ministers resolved to work together to strengthen cooperation in regional fora. They welcomed the central role of ASEAN in the development of regional architecture and its contribution to the region’s stability and prosperity. They stressed the value of the East Asia Summit (EAS) as a Leaders-led forum for strategic dialogue and reiterated the importance of strengthening the EAS as the premier forum in the region.

The ministers strongly condemned terrorism in all forms and manifestations including recent attacks in Bangladesh, Iraq, Turkey, France, Afghanistan, and in many other places and expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, and the governments of those affected. They expressed their strong support for the counterterrorism efforts by the international community.

Recognizing that ISIL/Da’esh, Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations pose serious threats to peace and international security, as well as to common values and principles for all humanity, the ministers reaffirmed the importance of international counter-terrorism efforts such as the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.  The ministers expressed support for the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, which is pioneering development-based approaches to countering violent extremism in conflict affected countries.  The ministers also expressed their support for the UN Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and called for its implementation. Japan, the United States and Australia resolved to advocate for and strengthen existing information sharing mechanisms, such as those proposed by the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL), to combat the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. 

The ministers stressed the strategic importance of a free, fair and open international trade and economic system for the region’s stability and prosperity, and reconfirmed they would redouble their efforts to complete respective domestic processes for an early entry-into-force of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

The ministers resolved to further strengthen cooperation in the following fields:

  • Joint cyber capacity-building in Southeast Asia and the Pacific and coordination in such fora as the UN Group of Governmental Experts and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
  • Strengthening other countries’ capacity for UN peacekeeping operations.
  • Practical steps for achieving a peaceful and secure world free of nuclear weapons, stressing the importance of achieving a successful outcome in the 2020 NPT Review Conference.
  • Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development. 
  • Effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, striving for entry into force in 2016.
  • Promoting quality infrastructure investment and to encourage the relevant stakeholders to do so in cooperation with other partners.

The ministers resolved to continue to closely work together and with our partners to promote strong sustainable growth and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region and the world.

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