FROM THE OFFICIAL ASEAN CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT:
The Sixteenth Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was convened in Phuket, Thailand, on 23 July 2009. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Kasit Piromya, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand. The Meeting was attended by the Foreign Ministers and Representatives of all ARF Participants. The Secretary-General of ASEAN was also in attendance. An ARF Defense Dialogue among defense and military officials attending the 16th ARF was also held in Phuket on 22 July 2009.
The Ministers welcomed the 15th anniversary of the ARF and commended the ARF on its achievements in building trust and confidence in the Asia-Pacific region since its inception in Bangkok, Thailand in 1994. The Ministers also welcomed ASEAN’s determination to establish an ASEAN Community by 2015, guided by the ASEAN Charter which entered into force in December 2008 and the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community 2009-2015 which among others provides the blueprint for the ASEAN Political-Security Community.
The Ministers recognized that the Asia-Pacific region continues to face multi-dimensional threats and challenges and that the ARF therefore needs to continue to revitalize itself in order to maintain its relevance and primacy in promoting regional peace and stability and in helping to shape the evolving regional security architecture. They believed that the ARF can continue to promote cooperation in areas of shared and mutual interests and generate concrete benefits for the peoples of the region.