19 November 2015


Philippines, South Korea seek greater bilateral cooperation
President Benigno S. Aquino III and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye expressed their willingness to boost their cooperation, during a bilateral meeting held on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit on Wednesday.

According to Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., the Philippines is keen to increase bilateral trade, encouraging South Korean companies to invest in shipbuilding, automotive manufacturing, food production, food processing and agribusiness, electronics, energy and renewable energy, finance and banking, infrastructure and public-private-partnership (PPP) projects, such as the development of the Puerto Princesa airport in Palawan.

He said the Philippines thanked South Korea for supporting such projects as the Jalaur Multi-Purpose Project, Laguindingan Airport air navigation system and support facilities, and the Samar Pacific coastal road project that South Korea committed to support until 2018.

“We are pleased with the robust logistics corporation between our two countries, as manifested by the Philippines’ acquisition of various defense material, most notably the FA-50 aircraft. We appreciate Korea’s donation of a patrol combat corvette, a landing craft utility, and 16 rubber boats to improve our military’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response capabilities,” Secretary Coloma quoted President Aquino as saying during the bilateral meeting, held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.

The Palace official said President Aquino has assured President Park that the Philippine government places great importance on ensuring the safety and protection of all foreign nationals, including the more than one million Korean nationals frequenting and residing in the Philippines.

Coloma said the President is hopeful that South Korea would positively consider proposed amendments to the Social Security Agreement, so that it may be concluded to enable the peoples of both countries to fully maximize its benefits.

He said President Park, South Korea’s first female president, has commended the Philippines’ fast Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

He said President Park also expressed hope that more South Korean companies would participate in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program.

Coloma further said the South Korean leader noted that with Korean partnership, the Philippines has become the fourth largest shipbuilding country, saying this is a good reference and take off point for expanded trade, investment and economic cooperation.

The Palace official said Park is seeking greater bilateral cooperation in projects in medicine and public health, as well as in transportation and infrastructure development.

President Park, who attended the recently concluded G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Turkey, was also keen on improving the social security program involving citizens of both countries, Coloma added.

He said that every year, more than 2,000 Korean-Filipino multicultural families are formed and the Korean government fully supports this as a gesture of the deepening of people-to-people ties. PND (jm)

President Aquino: Problem identification, unity are key to regional development
Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) could easily overcome challenges through the proper identification of problems, as well as by working together with other economies, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Wednesday.

In his remarks during the opening of the 2015 APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) dialogue with APEC Leaders, President Aquino, who chairs the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, shared his experiences in surmounting challenges as president.

“Regardless of the sector you belong to, the work of innovation begins with the correct appreciation of the problem, which leads to the correct crafting of the solution,” he told the ABAC members and the APEC leaders.

“Policymakers must provide the environment that nurtures this. In turn, this requires the inputs from our business colleagues to maximize the synergy between us.”

The President also recognized the role of the private sector in this endeavor.

He said the closer economies work together, the more intelligently, efficiently, and swiftly they can evolve to meet the challenges of the increasingly globalized world.

“In my experience as President, I have seen how such partnerships revolutionize the lives of our countrymen and their communities for the better,” he said.

The Chief Executive mentioned Nestle’s NESCAFÉ Plan and the Farmer Entrepreneurship Program with local fast food chain Jollibee and rural communities. The program has helped train farmers to be more knowledgeable about farming.

With big companies working with the sector that provides them the ingredients, quality control is also enhanced, he said, adding that in turn, farmers learn more, earn more, and are assured of stable income.

“This is a win-win situation. What is ignited here, and later reinforces, is a virtuous cycle of efficiency and shared growth,” he noted.

“To my mind, such efforts are representative of what ABAC and the rest of the APEC Community do for our region: to inspire a sense of possibility and optimism, which gives birth to innovations and new pathways in business, economics, and governance.”

In this regard, evolution borne of innovation takes place, he said, adding that by evolving, economies become more efficient and eventually competitive.

President Aquino said that as APEC leaders face various challenges with the business community, he hopes this would be the next step towards a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), a region-wide growth through services and the expansion of infrastructure finance.

He also said he expects the meetings to promote the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), sustainable development, as well as rule of law.

“In all our discussions, may we invite our leaders and ABAC representatives to share your thoughts and insights in an open and friendly manner, which has become the hallmark of this gathering,” he said of the scheduled ABAC meeting with APEC Leaders. PND (as)

Greater prosperity seen in Philippine-Mexican ties
President Benigno S. Aquino III said a broader cooperation between the Philippines and Mexico could lead to greater prosperity.

The President recognized the enduring friendship of the two countries, saying “it is about time for us to expand our ties beyond the realm of history”.

“The extent of what binds us may well be immeasurable, and we are pleased to welcome you here to the Philippines. After all, the last State Visit by a Mexican head of state was 37 years ago, and I believe we can both agree that given our shared past, our cultural affinity, and our shared commitment to growth that can be felt by all, our partnership can help pave the way for greater prosperity for our nations and our peoples,” the President said in his toast during the state dinner in honor of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Tuesday in Malacañang Palace.

“Indeed, it is high time for us to expand our ties further beyond the realm of history, and give rise to an even broader partnership between our nations—one that can truly honor the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade. I assure you: We Filipinos are eager to work with you and write the next chapters of the history that we share,” he said.

President Aquino also mentioned that the Philippines and Mexico both fought for freedom.

“For nearly half a millennium, the history and the culture of Mexico and the Philippines have been deeply intertwined. Both our countries have fought for our freedom, and have thus truly learned to value and protect it over the years. The Philippines had our centuries-long colonial period, as well as the Martial Law era; while Mexico had the period of Maximilian and Carlota, as well as your long revolution that laid the foundations of your democracy. Our shared struggle, however, also had the result of connecting our nations,” President Aquino said.

“Beginning in the 16th century, the generations that preceded us witnessed the galleons sailing back and forth between Manila and Acapulco, and, to this day, the effects of our historic exchange are undeniable. In fact, in the region of my forefathers alone, there is already strong evidence of our connection. In Pampanga, which is a province north of Manila, there is actually a municipality named Mexico, famous for its churches built during the Spanish colonization. There is also a town called Macabebe in the same province, whose inhabitants trace their ancestry directly to Mexican Indians,” the President said.

President Aquino likewise mentioned some Filipino words derived from the Spanish language.

“You can also look at our language. It is unsurprising that many of the words we have come to adopt from Nahuatl are somewhat related to trade. We have not one but two words for market that have Nahuatl roots, ‘tiangge’ derived from ‘tiangui’, and ‘palengke’ derived from ‘palenque’ also. There are also words for plants and vegetables: ‘Sayote’ from ‘Chayote’; ‘Camote’ from ‘Camotli’; ‘Sili’ from ‘Chilli’; ‘Singkamas’ from ‘Xicamatl’, among many, many others. I also remember that, back when I was in university—which was a time when we were all required to take Spanish classes—we had to practice dialogues in Spanish, and for the most part they were always in a Mexican setting,” the President further said.

The Chief Executive also noted the Filipinos’ contribution to Mexican life.

“I am told that Filipinos have had their own, major contributions to Mexican life, and this is the Filipino version of the story. Apparently, the process of distilling agave came partly from the adaptation of Philippine techniques in distilling spirits derived (from) coconuts. It was also the Philippines that introduced mangoes to Mexico, allegedly, and perhaps proof of this is how we can still find Mexican mangoes labeled ‘Manila Mangoes’,” the President said. PND (jm)

Philippines thanks Canada for its increased bilateral assistance
President Benigno S. Aquino III met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in furtherance of their countries’ bilateral ties.

Keeping reporters apprised of the meeting, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the Philippines thanked Canada for making it one of the 25 ‘countries of focus’ that will receive 90 percent of its bilateral official development assistance.

The Philippines and 24 other developing and underdeveloped countries in Asia, the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Middle East were chosen based on their needs, capacity to benefit from aid, and alignment with Canadian foreign policy priorities.

President Aquino cited the strong relations between the Philippines and Canada, as evidenced by the dynamism of the Filipino-Canadian community, Secretary Coloma said, adding that Prime Minister Trudeau saw great potential for growth in the two countries’ bilateral trade.

Canada also expressed its support for the Philippines’ possible accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries initiated by the United States, Coloma said.

Prime Minister Trudeau is attending his first APEC Leaders’ Summit this year, just two weeks after winning Canada’s leadership. He is however no stranger in meeting President Aquino as they briefly spoke with each other during the latter’s trip to Toronto last May.

President Aquino made a state visit to Canada six months ago at the invitation of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The 43-year old Trudeau was then a member of the Canadian Parliament for Papineau in the House of Commons. PND (hdc)

President Aquino hopes APEC, Pacific Alliance could further their cooperation
President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday welcomed leaders from the Pacific Alliance, hoping that a stronger cooperation between the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Latin American trade bloc could further enhance regional development.

“Our economies are separated by thousands of miles of ocean, and yet, more and more, we have come to realize that we live in an increasingly shrinking world,” the President said during his welcome remarks at the opening of the informal meeting with the Pacific Alliance.

“These past few years, economies have become increasingly intertwined, and I believe it is an opportune time for us to work more closely with one another—to sit down and discuss, as Pacific neighbors—and as economies with long, shared histories—how we can cooperate and accelerate our collective pursuit of prosperity.”

He said that at the retreat on Thursday, APEC Leaders will be discussing how they have progressed towards strengthening their regional economic ties.

Member economies of the APEC will be considering a number of initiatives in the retreat, such as structural reform, strengthening quality growth, services trade, and supporting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Economies within the Pacific Alliance are also working on similar initiatives, the President noted, hoping that the APEC and the Pacific Alliance could further collaborate on common issues.

The Pacific Alliance or the Alianza del Pacifico is a Latin American trade bloc composed of Chile, Peru, Mexico and Colombia, which all border the Pacific Ocean. PND (as)

China makes a pitch for free trade area of the Asia Pacific at APEC CEO Summit
(MANILA) Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday pushed for China-led free trade agreements, policies and initiatives to drive the Asia-Pacific region’s goal of inclusive and sustainable growth.

In his keynote address at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit, held at the Makati Shangri-La, President Xi offered Chinese trade and investment initiatives as solutions to global challenges that could hamper growth in the region.

Amid a backdrop of “multiple challenges” that could lead to disorderly capital flow and weak investment, President Xi invited APEC member economies to join the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), which he said offers a “win-win situation” for countries in the Pacific Rim.

“Accelerate the realization of FTAAP (and) take regional integration forward, encourage equal footing participation, a free trade engagement (that is) open and inclusive,” he said.

The Chinese leader admitted that there have been fears that the entrance of the FTAAP initiative in the Asia-Pacific region would create fragmentation among the economies.

He however said this “unique path of regional cooperation” would pave the way for an Asia Pacific that has “greater openness, greater integration, and greater development.”

First developed by the US to create a trading group incorporating both Washington and Beijing, China chose the FTAAP as its landmark initiative during the APEC Summit in 2014 in Beijing.

Professor Richard Heydarian of the De La Salle University has described the FTAAP as “a major trade agreement covering most major economies in the Asia Pacific” that will be “less stringent in its regulatory implications, but will heavily benefit Chinese exporters”.

President Xi also mentioned the advantages introduced by two other China-led initiatives–the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the 21st Maritime Silk Road.

The AIIB, to be launched later this year and joined by 50 countries, is a China-proposed “new style of investment and financing institution”, aimed at bolstering infrastructure development in the Asia-Pacific region.

It is seen by some as a rival to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), both dominated by the United States.

On the other hand, the 21st Maritime Silk Road is a strategic initiative proposed by Beijing for easier facilitation of trade in Southeast Asia. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)

APEC urged to create pension system for ageing population
(MANILA) Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies should create a pension system for their ageing population, which has increased by 64 percent in Southeast Asian countries, Prudential Asia Chairman Don Kanak said here Wednesday.

“What we don’t realize is how fast the population is ageing among ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries,” Kanak said at the APEC CEO Summit 2015 dialogue on “Strategies for Growth, Equity, and Resilience”.

“Many countries do not have a pension system,” he said, recommending partnerships between the government and the private sector in providing the public with health protection.

Kanak then cited the experience of Western countries, where most people have insurance.

For his part, Allan Gabor, President and CEO of Merck Biopharma China, called for increased government expenditure on health care, particularly for women, who comprise a significant number of the labor force.

Investments on health care boost productivity and growth in the economy, Gabor said.

At the same time, the pharmaceutical giant’s chief said APEC economies should invest in health information awareness among employees.

These policies, Gabor said, would benefit women workers, particularly those who are indigenous, cross-border, migrant, unregulated, casual, and urban poor.

During an earlier ministerial meeting, health ministers, together with the private sector, created the “Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Policy Toolkit” to be presented to the APEC Leaders on Wednesday, for inclusion in their declaration.

So far, the Philippines, Mexico, and Peru said they support and commit to adopting the toolkit, which among others, seek to improve access to health care through health insurance.

Gabor said his company will help APEC economies disseminate the toolkit. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)

President Aquino says Philippines welcomes defense agreement with open arms
(MANILA) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday said the Philippines welcomes the mutual benefits under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States, even while it is being reviewed by the Supreme Court (SC).

In a joint press conference with US President Barack Obama after their bilateral meeting in Pasay City, President Aquino said the country has been one of the oldest allies of the world’s largest economy.

“On the Philippines’ part, we will have access to the most modern technology that will bring us into higher capabilities, and that is why we welcome now with very open arms this agreement pending before our Supreme Court,” he said.

The President said that under EDCA, the US will have the opportunity to use Philippines military bases “to be able to have more stability in its ability to project its own power within the region, in an effort to help in the stability and the orderliness and the diffusion of the tension within the region.”

He said EDCA will be the country’s contribution to President Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’ policy.

Similarly, President Obama said he is optimistic that EDCA will sail through the Supreme Court’s review process.

“We are confident that it is going to get done and we are going to be able to implement effectively the provisions and the ideas that have come forward during the course of these discussions,” he said.

He emphasized that “the broader point is that, as a treaty ally, we have a rock solid commitment to the defense of the Philippines”.

“And part of our goal is to continue to help our treaty partners build up capacity, to make sure that the architecture of both defense work, but also humanitarian work, and other important activities in the region are coordinated more effectively, and we think that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement is going to help us do that,” he said.

President Obama also backed Manila’s move to bring the dispute with China over the Spratlys chain of islands in the West Philippine Sea for arbitration in The Hague.

“As I have said earlier, we are not claimants ourselves, but we fully support a process in which through international law and international norms, these issues are resolved. And we look forward to working with all parties to move disputes through these channels,” he added.

President Aquino meanwhile said that getting other claimants to join the country’s arbitration case, filed before the Arbitral Tribunal in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, was not discussed during his bilateral meeting with Obama.

He disclosed that officials from other claimants have been asking the Philippines about its experiences and the studies it conducted before filing an arbitration case against China.

“They are watching us closely in this arbitration and are very close to a decision whether or not to join us in arbitration,” he said. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)

Government actions on Climate Change actually boost businesses – President Obama
(Manila) United States President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that an active action for climate change could generate enormous business in Asia and around the world.

In his speech during the CEO gathering on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, President Obama also urged all business owners and the private sector to go for renewable energy technology as it can generate new jobs and investments.

“Your business can be right by your bottom line and by our planet and future generations. The old rules that said we can’t grow our economy and protect our environment at the same time — these are outdated,” President Obama said before thousands of chief executive officers.

He also said if businessmen began reducing emissions in their operations, it could pressure all governments to sign the framework to protect the environment.

President Obama and other state leaders are set to convene in Paris to finalize the carbon-cutting pact.

He said having this deal could prompt investors to invest in clean energy technologies and could generate new jobs and investment.

“An ambitious agreement in Paris will prompt investors to invest in clean energy technologies because they will understand the world is committed to a low-carbon future,” he said.

So far, he said, more than 160 countries representing about 90 percent of global emissions have put forward climate targets for post-2020.

“That’s a signal to the private sector to go all-in on renewable energy technologies. And if we can get an agreement done, it could drive new jobs and opportunities, and investment in a global economy that, frankly, needs a boost right now,” he said.

President Obama noted that a change in environment has great impact in all countries and businesses globally and that governments should start mitigating the worse effects.

“No nation is immune to the consequences of a changing climate. But with its many low-lying islands, its coastal regions that are vulnerable to flooding and land loss, few regions have more at stake in meeting this challenge than the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

“We know that no single weather event is necessarily caused by climate change alone. But the patterns and the science don’t lie — temperatures and sea levels are rising; ice caps are melting; storms are strengthening. If we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late, the time to act is now,” the American leader said, adding that China has already pledged to peak, and reduce, its carbon emissions while the Philippines is already boosting its wind power.

The APEC, he said, is working to double renewable energy and reduce energy intensity by 45 percent over the next two decades.

“And through the Green Climate Fund and other avenues, the international community is helping developing nations to adapt to climate change and, as I said, leapfrog over the dirtier phases of development,” he said. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)

President Obama calls for tax incentives, subsidies for clean energy production
(MANILA) United States President Barack Obama has urged governments to provide tax incentives for the production of clean energy, and to finance research and development for green initiatives.

During a forum at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit that he moderated, President Obama highlighted the government’s role in providing tax incentives and subsidies for entrepreneurs to be able to produce clean energy.

Solar energy, for example, requires heavy subsidies on the front end, but the reduced cost per BTU in the past years “exceeded many of our expectations”, he said.

“And increasingly, the subsidies become less and less necessary. So, early phase, you may need some support. Over time, less support,” he said.

President Obama noted the need for government support in terms of financing research and development, so that young entrepreneurs, such as Aisa Mijeno, founder of SALt, a startup that produces energy using saltwater, could nurture ideas and innovative solutions.

Building a research and development facility is something most businesses are naught to do because there is no immediate payoff, he said.

“Most of the businesses of the people in this audience, you have an R&D budget, but oftentimes it’s commercializing a technology that’s relatively proven, tweaking it,” the American head of state said.

“Where governments can do what is hard for companies to do is that front-end basic research that doesn’t have necessarily an immediate payoff, but will then serve as the laboratories for young people like Aisa to discover — based on that basic research, I’ve got a new idea, and I can do something else,” he added.

Last-minute changes had the US President moderating the forum with Mijeno and Jack Ma, founder of top e-commerce platform, Alibaba.

Turning to Ma, Obama asked if investing in clean energy is something new to businessmen like him, citing China as an example of a growing economy that suddenly had to deal with environmental issues.

“Like the earlier patterns of England or the United States, when a country is growing rapidly, it doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the environment. As it enters into sort of middle-income status, suddenly people start looking at cancer rates,” he said.

“They start looking at the air, the water, and you become more conscious that that’s a good value that we have to prize and care about,” he pointed out.

Ma, for his part, recalled organizing Paradise International Foundation, which saw at least 45 business leaders in China investing in the conservation of environment “because there are a lot of things business could do”.

Like Obama, he believes both the government and the private sector must play roles in addressing pressing environmental concerns.

“It’s too late to complain whose fault. Whether your fault or my fault, let’s solve the problem together. It’s the combination–we’re combining the work of government, private sectors, scientists, and sociologists and philanthropists. We have to work together,” Ma said.

The government, businesses and scientists must work together, he added, to take action and fight against the deteriorating state of the environment. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)

President Aquino hosts welcome dinner for APEC leaders at MOA Arena
President Benigno S. Aquino III hosted a welcome dinner for the APEC Economic Leaders on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena highlighting the Filipino hospitality.

“Excellencies, I thank all of you for an extremely productive start to our discussions. However, let me assure you that tonight’s dinner will not feature a menu of policy and statistics,” the President said in his welcome remarks.

He said he believes that Wednesday’s welcome dinner will allow leaders of the 21-APEC member economies to strengthen old friendships, and provide an opportunity to make new ones.

The President praised China, under President Xi Jinping, for leading a truly impressive APEC hosting last year, adding, “tonight, we Filipinos want to share something of our culture through our food, songs, and dance.”

“And it is my hope you will see why so many have said it is more fun in the Philippines,” highlighting Filipino hospitality and generosity.

And more than the food they partake, the President said it is about the bond that is formed, and the sharing that takes place, as well as the communication between friends.

Prior to the welcome dinner, the President had a busy schedule Wednesday, meeting the leaders of the US, Australia, and Russia.

The President also led the meeting with the APEC Business Advisory Council together with his fellow APEC leaders at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

He also joined other leaders during the meeting of APEC and the Pacific Alliance held also at the PICC. PND (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)

Economic structural reform more important than monetary stimulus in fixing world economy – Chinese President Xi Jinping
(MANILA) Chinese President Xi Jinping said he firmly believes that economic restructuring and reforms are more important than monetary stimulus in fixing the global economy.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit on Thursday, the Chinese leader carefully navigated such questions as how to keep the Asia-Pacific economy on the right track and how to find new growth areas and strengthen the region’s status as a growth engine.

“To address the deep-seated problems in the world economy, monetary stimulus alone is not enough,” said President Xi.

“We must commit ourselves to even greater efforts to advance economic structural reform so as to better adapt supply to the changing pattern of demand. This is an area where the Asia Pacific should take the lead by adopting new approach, model and pathway of development.”

According to him, member economies must press ahead with reform and innovation and leverage the role of the APEC as a policy platform and an “incubator” for strengthened cooperation in such areas as Internet economy, blue economy, green economy and urbanization, with a view to improving the region’s capacity for independent innovation.

“Facing the dangerous rapids and shoals in the world economy, we must steer the giant ship of the Asia Pacific in the right direction,” he stressed. “All economies in the region must act in a responsible manner and work in unison to promote global growth.”

President Xi said efforts should also be made “to expedite industrial upgrading so that science and technology innovation will bring about new products, management and business models, move Asia-Pacific economies up in the global supply chain and enable us to jointly build and benefit from a coordinated, open and inclusive global value chain.”

“While developed economies need to be more forthcoming about sharing best practices and transferring technologies, developing economies should explore more boldly, increase input and try to catch up more quickly,” he explained.

The Chinese leader acknowledged that Asia-Pacific business communities represent a principal force for development and a pioneer in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Having made significant contributions to regional prosperity and development, they “carry an important mission to shape the region’s future”, he said.

He further recognized that China owes its development to the Asia Pacific, thus it will “continue to anchor ourselves here and deliver benefits to the region”.

“We welcome the continued participation of Asia-Pacific business communities in China’s development in which you can share our opportunities and potential benefits,” he said. “We also look forward to your greater contribution to the region’s long-term economic development and to the strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy.” (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)

Russia inseparably linked to APEC region, says Russian Prime Minister Medvedev
(MANILA) It is Russia’s strategic policy to develop cooperation with all Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies and to contribute to the solution of current challenges in the region, Russian Federation Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said during the APEC CEO Summit hosted by Manila on Wednesday.

“I’d like to remind you that two-thirds of Russia’s territory is located in Asia, and hence Russia is inseparably linked to this region,” said Prime Minister Medvedev, who is attending the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He said events such as the AELM help strengthen cooperation in all spheres and that this stance is fully in keeping with Russia’s policy in the Asia Pacific.

He described the theme of the 2015 APEC CEO Summit, “Creating the Future: Better. Stronger. Together.”, as a good theme but noted that it is “doubly important in the current situation”, given the recent tragic events perpetrated by terrorists.

Medvedev said the terrorist attacks against Russia and France are “spearheaded against the entire world”.

“The growth of terrorism is a global challenge, a challenge to the entire civilized world,” he stressed. “And we must give a common answer to it by coordinating and joining our efforts.”

Medvedev declared that the downing of a Russian airplane over the Sinai Peninsula, in which 224 people died, and the indiscriminate killing of people in Paris are crimes committed not against an individual country, but against the entire world, “and so it is together that we must stand against terrorism”.

He likewise expressed Russia’s gratitude to the host, the Philippines, for the “excellent organization” of APEC 2015.

“I am honored to be able to address this respected platform, the APEC CEO Summit, which took time to become established but is now by rights considered an economic and political barometer in the Asia-Pacific region and the world,” he said. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)

Chinese President pushes for acceleration of free trade and regional integration
(MANILA) Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged Asia-Pacific economies to hasten the process of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and promote regional economic integr!ation.

“We must steer the giant ship of this Asia-Pacific economy in the right direction. All economies in the region of Asia Pacific must act in a responsible manner and work in unison to promote global growth,” President Xi said during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Makati City on Wednesday.

He also encouraged the APEC leaders to “accelerate the realization of FTAAP and take regional economic integration forward” to find new growth areas and strengthen the Asia-Pacific status as a “growth engine”.

”We need to encourage equal-footed participation and extensive consultation and make free trade arrangements open and inclusive,” he added.

The FTAAP, China’s landmark initiative in last year’s APEC summit, helps consolidate the various bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms in the region, and minimize the risks caused by overlapping and fragmented free trade arrangements.

President Xi further urged the APEC leaders to commit themselves to a mutual cooperation and promote fair competition in the region.

He noted the APEC’s potential as a “policy platform and incubator for strengthened cooperation”, particularly in areas such as the Internet economy, blue economy, green economy, red economy, and urbanization. (PCOO-APEC Communications Team)