Your Excellency Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi,
Madame Megawati Sukarnoputri, Chairperson of the Meeting,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored and delighted to participate in the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit here in the marvelous capital city of Tokyo. To begin, let me express my deep personal appreciation for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for the summit.
The strong bonds of friendship between Japan and ASEAN date back to the historical policy announcement made in 1977 by the former Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Takeo Fukuda, when he called for all partners to focus greater importance on Japan-ASEAN relations. At the initiative of H.E. Fukuda, the ASEAN Cultural Fund was established, and in 2003 we have celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the ASEAN Cultural Fund, by setting 2003 as the ASEAN-Japan Exchange Year.
Japan-ASEAN relations have entered a new era, when H.E. the Prime Minister of Japan Junichiro Koizumi proposed in January 2002 that ASEAN and Japan should be “sincere and open partners” who “act together and advance together” in the twenty-first century and proposed the five initiatives encompassed in Japan’s policy toward ASEAN under the banner of “Cooperation for the Future“, announced during the ASEAN-Japan Summit held in Phnom Penh in November 2002.
Our relationship has evolved in scope and in nature. In the beginning, Japan was a major donor to the ASEAN. Japanese ODA has been critical in creating conditions for foreign direct investment from Japan into ASEAN countries, especially new ASEAN member countries. Now Japan has become a major trading partner of ASEAN and our economies have grown increasingly interdependent. ASEAN-Japan’s two-way trade and investment from Japan to ASEAN exceeds the $100 billion mark respectively. I am convinced that in the future, through our utmost efforts, we will create, over the long run, a caring and sharing East Asian community, and we will witness the enhanced movement of people, goods, and funds among our economies.
Japan represents a strategic anchor for the region, having positioned herself at the core of the political and economic landscape of East Asia. Cambodia sincerely appreciates Japan’s role in strengthening regional security and stability, as well as in promoting the development in the region.
Together, we have established a viable ASEAN+3 framework, in which Japan has played an active role. The Chiang Mai Initiative has been successfully implemented with the establishment of a network of bilateral currency swap arrangements. These innovative finance mechanisms will help avert any future crises. We are now deliberating on the development of the Asian bond market in order to further mobilize regional savings and strengthen the region’s financial architecture.
Furthermore, networks of bilateral Free Trade Areas between ASEAN members and the +3 countries are evolving into more concrete form. The ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers have been meeting at least annually to consult on unfolding political and security issues which are of mutual concerned. The other Ministers of the ASEAN+3 nations are also forging cooperation agreements in other areas.
Historically, Cambodia and Japan have had a long-standing relationship. I am pleased to say that Cambodia is now celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Cambodia and Japan. This friendship has enabled our people and two countries to develop the tradition of mutual respect and support, in various aspects of the development process, including politics, economy, culture, social affairs and religions. On behalf of the Royal Government and people of Cambodia, I convey our warmest congratulations and best wishes to the people and government of Japan.
Japan is a rare and exceptional friend of Cambodia. The Royal Government and people of Japan have provided continuing and significant help and support to Cambodia in all fields and in all circumstances. Japan is not only the biggest donor to Cambodia. Japan also plays an important role in Cambodia’s national reconciliation efforts that have successfully ended the protracted wars and brought full peace to the entire nation.
Cambodia is forward looking to another new level of relationship for the mutual benefit between Cambodia and Japan through enhancing growth of tourism, trade and investment inflow of Japanese private sector into Cambodia.
Before I end my remarks, allow me to inform you that as a member of international community, Cambodia has seriously fulfilled all her commitments and obligations in the United Nations and has extended all kinds of support and cooperation to this World Organization, especially in preserving and enhancing international peace and security. Nevertheless, since Cambodia becomes a member of the United Nations in 1955, we have not received any important role within this important institution. With this argument, Cambodia wishes to receive a status of non-permanent member in the UN Security Council for 2006-2008. I hope that Excellencies, Heads of State/Government of ASEAN and Japan will support this appropriate aspiration of Cambodia.
As I emphasized earlier, ASEAN and Japan has a long-standing relationship, linked by heart-felt friendship and solidarity. I am convinced that our Commemorative Summit represents another great momentum to strengthen and expand ASEAN-Japan cooperation in many aspects including politics, security, trade, investment, industry, education, science, technology and culture.