December 19, 2023
PHNOM PENH – JAPAN and ASEAN have highlighted their shared vision of deepening their friendship and cooperation as “trusted partners”, as they gathered in the Japanese capital Tokyo on December 17 at the commemorative summit for the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation.
The summit assessed the achievements of their relations over the past decades and set future direction.
The leaders of both sides adopted a Joint Vision statement and an implementation plan, pledging to strengthen the newly-launched ASEAN-Japan comprehensive strategic partnership which is “meaningful, substantive and mutually beneficial”.
Prime Minister Hun Manet also attended the summit, where the bloc and Japan touted the significant progress and outstanding achievements of their wide-ranging cooperation and close partnership in the last half-century since 1973, as well as the growing role of ASEAN in the international community.
They reaffirmed the shared principles, values and norms enshrined in the ASEAN Charter and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), while also recognising that both the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) vision share relevant fundamental principles in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
“[We] affirm that all persons are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of humanity.
“Our vision is for a world where the shared principles and values, as espoused including in the UN Charter and upheld by the AOIP, among others, are ensured, and where all countries can pursue peace and prosperity and uphold the principles of democracy, the rule of law and good governance, and respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said the December 17 joint statement.
The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to upholding international law, including the UN Charter and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while also pledging to advance cooperation on mainstreaming the AOIP that reinforces the key principles of openness, transparency and inclusivity within the evolving ASEAN-centred regional architecture.
“Building on mutual trust, ASEAN and Japan will strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership that is meaningful, substantive and mutually beneficial, while embracing ASEAN unity and centrality,” noted the statement.
The bloc and Japan are committed to further fostering “heart-to-heart” relationship of mutual trust, mutual understanding, and mutual respect as the foundation for the ASEAN-Japan partnership, in addition to striving to co-