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Trilateral Joint Statement

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
July 12, 2012

Following is the text of a joint statement issued by the United States of America, Japan, and the Republic of Korea on July 12, 2012, on the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia:

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea Kim Sung-hwan, Secretary of State of the United States of America Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Koichiro Gemba met in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on the margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial meeting on July 12, 2012. This was the third such meeting among the three sides in the past two years. This meeting follows the successful trilateral ministerial meeting held in Bali, Indonesia on July 23, 2011, and aims to strengthen our trilateral cooperation based on our shared values and amplify our efforts to address challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.

The Ministers recognized that the U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) and the U.S.-Japan Alliances and the ROK-Japan partnership are essential to the maintenance of peace and stability in Asia. The Ministers reaffirmed their mutual bilateral responsibilities and steadfast commitments under the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty and the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the U.S. and Japan, and resolved to continue close consultations for dealing effectively with common security threats.

The Ministers urged North Korea to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, including uranium enrichment, in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the denuclearization of North Korea. The Ministers reiterated that any provocation by North Korea, including another nuclear test or missile launch, will be met with a resolute and coordinated response from the international community, as indicated in the April 16 Presidential Statement of the UN Security Council. The Ministers noted that a different path remains open to North Korea if it refrains from provocations and complies with its international obligations and commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, which includes taking concrete actions toward denuclearization.

The Ministers expressed deep concern about the well-being of the North Korean people and the grave human rights situation in North Korea. Sharing the growing concern of the international community on these matters, the Ministers called on North Korea to put its people first by respecting their human rights, addressing their humanitarian needs, and investing in their welfare, especially in nutrition and health. The Ministers underlined that North Korea should take actions without any further delay to address humanitarian issues, including holding family reunions and resolving all abduction and detention cases.

The Ministers pledged to closely consult on their policy toward North Korea, and to continue to strengthen cooperation with China and Russia in this regard. The Ministers also underscored the importance of sustained cooperation with the international community to ensure full implementation of relevant international sanctions and to improve human rights in North Korea. The Ministers welcomed Chinese and Russian engagement to urge North Korea to live up to its international obligations and commitments.

The Ministers pledged to strengthen their cooperation to reinforce regional cooperation mechanisms, including ASEAN, ARF and EAS, as a foundation for multilateralism in the region. The Ministers also welcomed the Republic of Korea’s co-hosting of the 3rd ARF Disaster Relief Exercise (DiREx) with Thailand in 2013 to bolster cooperation on disaster management in the Asia Pacific, and as previous co-host countries, the United States and Japan pledged their full support for the success of DiREx. The Ministers decided to seek opportunities for trilateral cooperation to prepare for natural disasters and pandemics and welcomed the outcome of the World Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction in Tohoku.

The Ministers encouraged the efforts by the ASEAN and China for making progress on an ASEAN-China Code of Conduct based on international law and the spirit of the Declaration of Conduct, as it is expected to manage and regulate the conduct of parties in the South China Sea. The Ministers resolved to coordinate to promote the effectiveness of development assistance around the world, with a particular focus on the Mekong region via the Friends of the Lower Mekong framework.

With regard to Myanmar/Burma, the Ministers welcome recent positive developments and reiterated their commitment to work together for the continued progress toward democracy, development, protection of human rights, and national reconciliation in Myanmar/Burma, and to achieve Myanmar/Burma’s full compliance with all of its international obligations, including on non-proliferation.

The Ministers affirmed their commitment to continue close cooperation on global issues, including anti-terrorism efforts, human rights, counter-piracy efforts, disarmament and non-proliferation, development cooperation, maritime security, freedom of navigation, and energy security.

The Ministers expressed deep concern over the deteriorating situation in Syria, and strongly condemned the Syrian military for its indiscriminate use of violence against pro-democracy protesters and civilians. The Ministers called upon the Syrian regime and all other parties involved to cease immediately all violence, implement immediately relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and support the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s efforts to facilitate a transition to a democratic, plural political system. The Ministers expressed their willingness to support democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa and decided to work towards a peaceful and stable South Sudan coexisting with Sudan.

The Ministers reaffirmed their support for peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through the P5+1 process, and urged Iran to comply with its international non-proliferation obligations, including UN Security Council resolutions and to cooperate with the IAEA in a sincere and forward-looking manner. The United States expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Republic of Korea and Japan for the implementation of both UN Security Council sanctions and their own national measures. The Ministers emphasized the importance of continuing close cooperation on Iran to send a clear signal that Iran’s continued violation of its international nuclear obligation will come at an enormous economic cost, while minimizing economic pressures on global markets.

The Ministers concurred that 2010 Washington and 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summits served as meaningful opportunities to reinforce global efforts in prevention of nuclear and radioactive terrorism, and pledged to bolster trilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear security.

As decided at the 2012 Chicago Summit in May, the Ministers emphasized the continued need for international support for Afghanistan beyond the end of the transition period. The Ministers shared the view that the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan held on July 8 was very timely and successful with regard to strengthening the international support for the sustainable economic development of Afghanistan from Transition to the Transformation Decade.

Concurring that today’s trilateral ministerial meeting was very timely and useful, the Ministers acknowledged the further need for developing trilateral cooperation, based on common interests, for promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. Toward this end, the Ministers announced the formation of a working-level Steering Group, based in Washington, D.C., to facilitate trilateral cooperation.

PRN: 2012/1139

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