50 Tahun ASEAN : Pidato Bapak Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Menteri Muda di bawah Menteri Eropa dan Luar Negeri [fr]
Mr Chairman of the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to celebrate with you here today the 50th anniversary of the creation of ASEAN.
Over the past 50 years, ASEAN has accomplished the remarkable feat of becoming one of the world’s most dynamic regions, with a rich geographical, cultural, linguistic, social and religious diversity.
ASEAN is a major partner for France and Europe. It is first and foremost an essential ally for defending a world which is not governed by a power-based approach but by international cooperation, multilateralism and regional integration. A world in which ASEAN, France and Europe can maintain our ability to work freely and independently to take initiatives and widen the range of possibilities. ASEAN and the European Union, with a combined population of over 1 billion, are truly two sister organizations.
This shared commitment to an approach of cooperation and integration can be clearly seen economically. France is convinced that free trade offers opportunities for growth and development, but only if based on the equal distribution of its benefits, including within our own societies, and on the principles of reciprocity, equity and regulatory compliance. In this respect, planned free trade agreements between the EU and several ASEAN countries offer new prospects. France has supported these negotiations from their outset. It supports the signing as soon as possible of the texts agreed with Singapore and Vietnam. It supports the negotiations which began with Indonesia a year ago. Discussions are also underway with Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
By creating its “Economic Community” in December 2015, ASEAN took an important step towards strengthening economic, financial and regulatory integration among its members. This decision will enhance the appeal of your region and progress in your exchanges with the European Union and France. ASEAN is already France’s second-largest economic partner in Asia, and our trade is booming. The conference organized this morning with MEDEF International demonstrates the very strong interest of French companies in ASEAN. 1,500 French companies are present in Southeast Asia, while tourist flows are growing fast: France, the world’s leading destination, welcomed 600,000 visitors from Southeast Asia last year, and is of course ready to welcome more.
Our shared commitment to international cooperation and multilateralism is also fundamental to meet the global challenges facing us. In the area of security, there is the fight against terrorism, which is affecting both Europe and Southeast Asia. Although Daesh is losing ground in the Middle East thanks to the work of the international coalition, it is spreading out and the return of combatant terrorists from the Middle East is a risk which both our regions must face. We need to continue working together to combat radicalization and all the trafficking that fuels terrorist groups. More generally, France has also begun major defence cooperation with its ASEAN partners, which it hopes to continue, including through its wish to have closer involvement in the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM+).
There is also the challenge posed by global climate change, to which ASEAN, due to its geography, is particularly vulnerable. France remains fully ready to address this urgent situation, including via its efforts to preserve and guarantee the best possible implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement. In this regard, on 12 December, as you know, France will organize with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the World Bank, a summit to assess progress and take additional action for the climate, particularly on the issue of financing.
Finally, multilateralism means compliance with international law, which is a fundamental and necessary resource to ensure a stable and peaceful world order. Among these rules are the law of the sea and free movement, and that is why France, which is present in the Pacific Ocean, regularly exercises its right of passage in the South China Sea, in close connection with its European allies, because we want these principles to be preserved. International law also means our commitments to human rights and an acute awareness of the duty tied to the legacy received from those who enabled the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. In this respect, the situation with the Rohingya people in Myanmar is grounds for particular concern. ASEAN’s call for violence to stop and for the recommendations of the Commission chaired by Kofi Annan to be implemented is of great importance, as is ASEAN’s humanitarian mobilization to help the people of Myanmar and welcome refugees.
France and ASEAN have an even greater responsibility to represent the importance of and the need to establish international order on cooperation because they are linked by special and historical relationships. France has age-old relations with Southeast Asia. This dates back to the 16th century with the arrival of the first French navigators involved in the spice trade. Since then, very close human and cultural ties have developed. The large number of French nationals residing in Southeast Asia, who make up the largest French community in Asia with 53,000 registered members, is a perfect example of this. The dynamism of Francophonie, which, Mr Secretary-General, you can see for yourself, is also of particular significance. These historical and human links are at the heart of our cultural, academic and scientific cooperation, which we would like to deepen through dynamic programmes and by further developing our involvement with ASEAN programmes. For example, the Franco-Vietnamese University of Science and Technology of Hanoi (USTH) or setting up the ESSEC Business School in Singapore. We would like to welcome more students from Southeast Asia to France, as there are currently just over 10,000, while about 400,000 people study French in ASEAN.
Mr Secretary-General, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you can see, there are extremely diverse relations between France, Europe and ASEAN. This year, with the 50th anniversary of the creation of ASEAN and the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, developing these relations is extremely important. Together, we must ensure that our future world is one of dialogue, cooperation and shared prosperity.