President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrived in Manila on Monday after a productive participation in the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits in Thailand.
During his attendance to the summit, President Duterte took part in a series of interactive discussions with fellow ASEAN leaders and Dialogue Partners on regional strategic issues and promoting partnerships for sustainability.
The President lauded the achievements of ASEAN community-building while calling for collective action to address the South China Sea disputes, transnational crimes, including trafficking of illicit drugs and terrorism, trade-related tensions, export of hazardous and toxic wastes, and climate change.
President Duterte also urged the two major economic powers, the United States and China, to exercise strategic restraint in the context of a changing regional landscape, and continue on the path of inclusiveness and cooperation.
The Chief Executive underscored that the Philippines is for an open, inclusive, and legal orders where ASEAN centrality is an essential element of the regional security architecture.
As the Country Coordinator of the ASEAN-China Dialogue, the Philippines will do its part to conclude negotiations on a Code of Conduct (COC) as soon as possible, President Duterte stressed.
At the same time, he expressed concern over ongoing trade tensions between key partners that could slow down growth and undermine food security and poverty alleviation efforts. He called for an open, fair, and rules-based international trading system.
Deeper economic integration is key to sustaining growth, the President noted, as he called for the conclusion of the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as soon as possible.
Amidst growing concerns over hazardous and toxic waste, President Duterte told fellow leaders at a Special Lunch on Sustainable Development that the practice of exporting wastes by developed countries to developing nations must be stopped. Such shipments violate international environmental law and an affront to national dignity, he said.
On the sidelines of the summit, the President held a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe where the Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership was reaffirmed.
President Duterte also congratulated Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha on the successful hosting of the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.
The 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, held from November 2 to 4, concluded with a pledge to further strengthen regional solidarity and cooperation to promote peace and stability in the region and forge stronger partnerships with Dialogue Partners.
Under Thailand’s chairmanship, the summit generated a total of 44 outcome documents. The summit has for its theme, “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.” PND