Asia Pacific Security Seminar

Co-Chairs’ Summary The Fourteenth Asia-Pacific Security Seminar

The National Institute for Defense Studies Tokyo, Japan November 11-17, 2007

  1. The National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS) held the Fourteenth Asia-Pacific Security Seminar (APSS) under the theme of "Prospects for Regional Security Cooperation: Confidence-Building Measures and Security Frameworks in the Asia-Pacific Region." Twenty-one countries from the region participated, including Australia, Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, India, the Republic of Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Union of Myanmar, New Zealand, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Philippines, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the United States of America.
  2. Academic sessions consisted of a keynote speech and discussions. The keynote speech entitled "Strengthening Asia Pacific Security: Confidence Building and Security Architecture" was made by Dr. Masashi Nishihara, President, the Research Institute for Peace and Security.
  3. In academic sessions, the participants addressed three issues: "Assessing potential threats and/or destabilizing factors in the region"; "Understanding each country’s confidence-building policy"; and "Exploring future security cooperation."
  4. On the first subject, "Assessing potential threats and/or destabilizing factors in the region," the participants identified potential and destabilizing factors such as territorial disputes, arms build-up, WMD proliferation, international terrorism, poor governance, piracy, pandemics, natural disasters, illegal immigration, transnational organized crimes, ethnic conflict and separatism, resource competition, poverty, socio-economic disparity, and environmental degradation.
  5. On the second subject, "Understanding each country’s confidence building policy," the participants examined various CBMs and other initiatives including bilateral and multilateral dialogue, information-sharing, defense cooperation in the areas of disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, and peacekeeping, and military exchange and joint exercises.
  6. On the third subject, "Exploring future security cooperation," the participants stressed the importance of fostering transparency and mutual understanding through various dialogues and collective efforts. They also explored the possibilities for a new region-wide cooperative initiative.
  7. At the wrap-up discussion, the participants discussed three topics: "In what areas can multilateral frameworks be built?"; "Should the UN be more effective? How?"; and "What roles should major powers play in order to maintain stability?" On the first topic, the discussion focused on disaster relief and humanitarian assistance and underlined the need for more coordination and widely shared standard operating procedures (SOP). The participants also discussed multilateral cooperation for non-proliferation. On the second topic, the participants broadly agreed on the activation of the UN but acknowledged the political reality that major powers have great influence.
    They also touched on the UN’s resource constraints and the constructive role of small powers. On the third topic, it was highlighted that major powers have moral and political commitments to the stability of the region. Nonetheless, diverse views were expressed by many participants with regard to the meaning of values such as democracy and human rights.
  8. The results of the Fourteenth APSS would be reported at the next ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Meeting of the Heads of Defense Universities/ Colleges/ Institutions.

NOTE: Held annually since 1994, the APSS has contributed greatly to deepening and widening security dialogue in this region. It started with delegates from 13 countries, but this year we welcomed participants from 21 countries. The APSS shares much with the ARF Meeting of the Heads of Defense Universities/ Colleges/ Institutions in terms of the core objectives and agendas.

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