At its Third Annual Meeting held in Acapulco, Mexico January 13-15,1995, the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), which groups together legislators of 24 countries, representing 44 per cent of the world population:
Welcomes the efforts of the Parliaments of the countries of the Asia Pacific Region to promote region - al and bilateral dialogue in the area of politics, security, economic cooperation and other forms of regional collaboration;
Notes with pleasure the results of the APEC Ministerial and Leaders meetings held in Indonesia in November 1994 where the target to establish a free trade zone in the Pacific Basin by the year 2020 was reaffirmed;
Recognizes the urgent need to focus on the problems of regional security, particularly in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as security in the region constitutes an indispensable element development and prosperity; and aware of the fact the Asia Pacific Region enjoys the greatest economic development in the world and that one of its main challenges is to prove that the diversity which is characteristic of the region, through cooperation of all sorts, can be translated into concrete benefits for each of the countries in the region;
Hereby adopts the following Joint Communiqué:
- Political and Security Issues in the Asia Pacific Region:
- At the initiative of the delegation of the PRC and Japan, the APPF agrees that in order to attain peace, security and stability in this region the following widely accepted principles should be adopted:
- Respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity;
- Mutual non aggression, non interference in each other's internal affairs;
- Equality and mutual benefit.
- Peaceful co-existence and mutual trust;
- Peaceful settlements of disputes between states and respect for international law and treaties.
- Notes the significant steps of the Asian Regional Forum to construct peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region since, notwithstanding the end of the cold war, the world continues to witness international conflicts and civil wars. Even though the Asia Pacific region has enjoyed relative political stability and a high level of economical growth, people of the zone are still concerned by issues of peace and security.
- Cooperation and Dialogue on Subregional Issues:
Recognizes that one of the major concerns in the Asia Pacific has been the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons, which represents a serious challenge to the NNP System and to the peace and stability of East Asia. In this context APPF stresses and urgent need for direct communication between the two Koreas and holding the North-South summit meeting as well as the early resumption of dialogue between North and South Korea. On the other hand APPF acknowledges that North Korea has frozen all activities related to the development of nuclear weapons. It calls upon all states to refrain from using nuclear weapons and from testing nuclear weapons that affect common areas of the region.
- Regional Cooperation in the Asia Pacific:
- Review of APEC's meeting in Indonesia.
During the Ministerial and Leaders' meeting in Indonesia held in November 1994 the importance of maintaining the region's dynamism and the need to liberalize the economies of APEC were acknowledged. In the Declaration of Borgor the leaders of APEC's economies agreed that the industrialized countries should meet the goals to create a free trade zone by the year 2010 while developing countries would do it by the year 2020. Nevertheless, in spite of recognizing the importance of establishing a goal for liberalization of trade and investment in the Asia Pacific region, the APPF notes the obstacles that the process will face, in particular the different levels of development in the region. Therefore, the APPF stresses the need to define the precise criteria to reach those important goals. During the next Leaders' Meeting in Osaka, this should be a central subject of negotiation.
APPF welcomes the recent incorporation of Chile within APEC and calls on the member economies to adopt the necessary criteria to define the participation in APEC's working groups of other countries of the Pacific Basin like Peru.
APPF notes that the multilateral system of free trade should be reinforced in the framework of the WTO and that any regional agreement should conform to the organization's principles in order not to become a protectionism economic bloc.
- Cooperation in Trade and Investment.
In the framework of regional efforts to promote free trade and investment, APPF acknowledges the contributions of the Uruguay Round to the reduction of tariffs as well as the adoption of agreements in specific sectors.
The APPF notes that non-tariff barriers have been increasingly used as a measure of protection at a time when there has been a progressive elimination of tariffs, which stimulates economic activity and global growth. APPF calls on all countries to work together in international fora to promote free trade and investment on a non discriminatory basis including the agriculture and services sectors, focusing special attention on the elimination of non-tariff barriers which should be one of the main trade policy objectives of countries in the immediate short term.
- Development of Human Resources.
The APPF acknowledges that the development of human resources constitutes a high priority in a world in which trade and communications between people and governments is constantly growing, education as a means for the development of human resources becomes a tool to promote economic and technological advancement and helps to preserve national cultures and identities. On the other hand, human resources are undoubtedly the only instrument capable of producing and redistributing wealth. It is acknowledged that the economics of the Pacific Basin have dedicated a high percentage of GDP to education and development of human resources.
The APPF is conscious of the increasing importance of ecological problems on a global scale, and notes the commitment of the countries of the region to reach cooperative agreements in the field of sustained development and the urgent need to stop the destruction of coral reefs in different regions of the world. The APPF recalls the "Statement of Forest Principles from The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development" to develop a mechanism to combat deforestation, and calls on all member countries to examine their participation in the various arrangements for environmental cooperation. The APPF encourages its members to promote the role of the private sector in sustainable development activities and calls on its members to participate in the International Coral Reefs Initiative.
Upon the suggestion of the Federated States of Micronesia and Papua New Guinea, the APPF encourages increased membership and participation by small island developing states in the activities of the APPF; and asks member countries to endeavor to find ways and means to assist in meeting their special development needs, particularly in the areas of:
- Trade and economic development
- Human Resources
- Institutional Development
- Technology Transfer
- Regional Cooperation on Drug Trafficking, Terrorism and Organized Crime.
Call on member countries of the APPF to achieve a harmonization of their respective legislation with the aim of combating drug trafficking in an effective and coordinated way. This harmonization should include means which not only stop trafficking but also money laundering. Legislation should also include a system for the prompt extradition of drug related criminals.
All governments are called upon to take action to prevent drug use. The APPF seeks effective collaboration between the police who are working against drug trafficking and money laundering in member countries, with the aim of exchanging information of drug traffickers and their operations.
The forum places special emphasis on the need to promote crop substitution programs in producer countries, which will necessitate the economic support of the developed countries to ensure that the standard of living of farmers can be protected.
In relation to terrorism the forum strongly condemned all criminal actions or practices aimed at violating human rights, calling on the international community to redouble its efforts in fighting against terrorism in all its forms. While the ultimate aim should be the eradication of terrorism, support should be extended to the numerous victims of terrorism actions.
A Mexican proposal to hold a special meeting to discuss drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime was agreed by the APPF.
- For cooperation between the Asia Pacific and Latin America, the APPF acknowledges the growing interest of Latin America in the Asia Pacific Region and calls on Mexico, Chile and Peru to encourage other members of the Latin American Pacific Coast to join the forum.
- In organizational matters with respect to the operation of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, the APPF agrees that in accordance with the Tokyo Declaration, in order to strengthen relations with regional and multilateral organizations, resolutions adopted by the APPF should be sent to APEC, ASEAN, APF, PECC, PBEC and the United Nations.
In order to advance the objective of promoting the regional identity of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, substantive items for discussion at the annual meeting prior to the Annual Meeting should be prepared.
It is proposed that the Executive Meeting should meet during the first week of September prior to the January Annual Meeting in order to allow more time to prepare the substantive; item paper.
This would allow sufficient time for theme papers to be sent to the secretaries so that the secretariat could send them to the members of the forum prior to the annual meeting and thereby enrich discussions.
In accordance with section 8 of the APPF procedures adopted in Manila, elections for half of the Executive Committee should occur at each annual meeting. This would allow for the continuity of the host on the Executive Committee whilst also allowing for other countries to participate. The host country of the following annual meeting should automatically be a member of the Executive Committee.
The APPF agrees to create a secretariat pro tempore. The country that will host the annual meeting should take over the secretariat pro tempore eight months before the annual meeting that it hosts.
According to this Mexico would retain the Secretariat until May after 1995 at, which time Thailand would take over the Secretariat.
The general assembly confirms that the IV Annual Meeting will be held in Thailand and agreed that the V Meeting shall take place in Canada. It acknowledges the proposals of Peru and Chile to be hosts of following meetings.
Adopted this 14th day of January 1995, at the Port of Acapulco Mexico.
(SGD) Yasuhiro Nasasone President.
(SGD) Augusto Gomez Villanueva Chairman