Seminar on Asian security issues to be held in Helsinki on 2-4 October

Finland is organising a seminar in Helsinki, 2-4 October 2000, where 23 representatives from nations in the Asia-Pacific region alongside representatives from the EU will convene to discuss confidence building measures within the framework of ASEAN-led (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) cooperation. This seminar, organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the National Defence College, was initiated during Finland´s EU Presidency last Autumn.

The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF),which held its first meeting in 1994, provides a setting in which countries from the Asia-Pacific region, the EU, the United States, Canada and Russia can discuss regional security issues. North Korea became the newest partner when it participated for the first time in the annual ARF Foreign Ministers´ Meeting in July.

The theme of this seminar is "Approaches to Confidence Building". This theme provides a framework for discussing confidence-building as a part of co-operative security between States, as regards both theory and concrete measures, especially drawing on experiences in the European context. The CSCE-process from the 1970s which was transformed into the OSCE or the OAS in the Western hemisphere can offer Asian countries a source of inspiration in their efforts to achieve co-operative security inter alia through confidence-building measures CMBs), either bilaterally or multilaterally within the ARF process.

The ARF Seminar in Helsinki will be held at the National Defence College in Santahamina on Monday, 2 October and Tuesday, 3 October, 2000. Participants from all ARF member countries are expected to attend, including Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, Indonesia, India, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United States, Vietnam and the EU.

After the seminar on Wednesday, 4 October, the Finnish Defence Forces will organise an excursion to the Armoured Brigade at Parola and to Satakunta Air Wing at Pirkkala, in the spirit of CBMs. Representatives of the media have the opportunity to participate in Wednesday´s field trip. Advance registrations by Tuesday, 3 October by 2 p.m. to Major Mika Kerttunen, tel: +358-9-1812 6331 or +358-9-562 6684.

Further information through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is provided by First Secretary Antti Rytövuori, tel: +358-9-1341 5594 or +358-40-759 5755

Further information through the National Defence College is provided by Major Mika Kerttunen, National Defence College, tel: +358-9-1812 6331 or +358-40-562 6684

Additional information on the ARF can be found on the following Internet sites:

ASEAN(Linkki toiselle web-sivustolle.)
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade(Linkki toiselle web-sivustolle.)