President Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr President, dear summit participants,
I am grateful for this opportunity to speak at the inaugural East Asia Summit. Above all, I would like to wish your organisation a successful start and fruitful work.
There is every reason to believe that this meeting marks the birth of a new and influential organisation. This is only to be expected. After all, its members are countries whose political and economic importance is recognised not just in Asia but throughout the entire world. Indeed, the East Asia Summit has a significance that reaches beyond the Asia-Pacific region right from the start.
The Asia-Pacific region is deservedly recognised as the leader in global development. Powerful integration processes are underway in this part of the world, processes that are transforming the mutual complementarity of national economies into competitive advantages. And the ability to reach agreements is forming the foundation for solid relations built on a genuine partnership.
Our country, as an integral part of the Asia-Pacific region, supports peace, security and constructive cooperation throughout the entire region. We do not seek unilateral benefits. Our credo in Asia is an equal partnership and mutual benefits.
Russia has always had and always will have long-term political, economic and, in the broader sense, civilisation interests in this region. Becoming involved in the integration processes taking place in the region will contribute to creating favourable external conditions for our country’s overall socio-economic development, above all in Siberia and the Russian Far East.
It is very pleasing to see the many positive trends that are developing in the Asia-Pacific region. One of these trends is the increasing activeness of multilateral forums. Participation in these forums has already given our countries good opportunities to work together to find solutions to the global and regional problems we face today.
The processes underway on the Asian continent have their own specific features, of course, their differences with the European situation. It is not by chance that organisations have emerged here that, while different in form, all share the idea of constructive cooperation. They include APEC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and ASEAN. The priority task today is to unite and coordinate their efforts.
This was also the objective of the Russian initiative on developing partnerships between the multilateral organisations that was proposed at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s summit in Tashkent in 2004. We have already taken the first steps towards realising this initiative by signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and ASEAN secretariats.
I want to stress that we see the East Asia Summit as another significant factor in developing positive trends in the region. This is a new organisation being formed as an open regional community and its main aims are to strengthen security and develop an equal dialogue.
The EAS’ founding members have yet to define the parameters for their activities and decide on the optimum organisational form. We hope that the decisions reached on these matters will satisfy all the organisation’s members and hope that they will also create incentives for new partners to join.
In submitting its application to take part in the organisation’s activities, Russia is ready to make a real contribution to resolving the issues currently affecting the region’s life. The cooperation between Russia and ASEAN already serves as an example of the effectiveness of our work together.
Overall, our partnership has already stood the test of time. We have achieved a new quality of relations over recent years. Above all, we have reinforced the foundation of agreements and accords that our relations are built on. Russia acceded to the Treaty on Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia in 2004, and just a few days ago we signed another important document – the Agreement on Economic and Development Cooperation.
Cooperation between Russia and ASEAN is becoming a more significant factor in forming a system of security and partnership in the Asia-Pacific region with every passing year. This cooperation also helps us to coordinate our work within the United Nations and other multilateral organisations.
We also intend to work more closely with ASEAN on counter-terrorist activities. In this respect we believe it necessary to give our special services and law enforcement agencies the relevant powers.
A key priority is to improve the quality and amount of Russian cooperation with our partners in Asia. I would like to note that, on the initiative of our entrepreneurs and financiers, the second Russia-ASEAN Business Forum is currently taking place in Kuala Lumpur, as is a Russian advanced technology exhibition. These large-scale events, together with the agreements signed yesterday, confirm that our relations are becoming more and more dynamic and substantial.
Russia is ready to contribute to the work of the East Asia Summit in all its key areas of activity.
To take just one topical subject – energy supply security in the Asia-Pacific countries – we could look at, for example, long-term and stable raw materials supplies, modern prospecting and exploration projects and gas and oil pipeline construction. Russia’s experience in hydro and nuclear energy could be very useful, as could the possibility of carrying out pilot projects for studying non-traditional energy sources and using energy-saving technology. Our country is also open to cooperation, including within the East Asia Summit, in as important an area as disaster relief.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The twenty-first century is rightly called the era of new opportunities. Russia does have something to offer its partners and we hope, of course, to meet with a positive response from the members of the EAS. This new organisation will without question make an important contribution to achieving these noble and truly strategic goals in the name of peace, security and prosperity.
I would like in conclusion to thank everyone here today for the attention shown to our country. I would like to thank you, Mr Prime Minister, and the entire leadership of the EAS for inviting me and for the friendly and positive atmosphere at this summit.
I wish you all success in your work.