Philippine President issues ASEAN Chairman’s statement

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte issued a Chairman’s statement on April 30.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (second, left). (Photo: VNA)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (second, left). (Photo: VNA)
The 25-page statement mentioned concerns expressed by several ASEAN leaders pertaining to recent happenings in the region and concurrently reiterated the importance of maintaining peace, stability and maritime and overflight security and freedom in the East Sea.

It also reiterated the importance of exercising self-restraint when conducting activities, avoiding actions that could complicate the situation, and pursuing peaceful measures in disputes without threatening or using forces.

The statement, however, had no mention of the ruling of the arbitral tribunal in The Hague, the Netherlands in July 2016. The ruling rejected China’s claims over almost all the East Sea.

The 30th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was held in Manila, the Philippines on April 29 with the attendance of leaders of 10 ASEAN member nations.

At the opening session, Duterte underlined the core priorities of the Philippines’ chairmanship, which are building a people-oriented and people-centred ASEAN, maintaining a peaceful and stable region, cooperating in maritime security  and advancing inclusive and innovative-led growth, promoting ASEAN’s resiliency, and promoting ASEAN as a model for regionalism and as a global player.

At the summit, the ASEAN leaders expressed their concerns over the complicated developments, such as the tension related to the Korean Peninsula, militarisation activities in the East Sea, and spreading terrorism threats.

They agreed that ASEAN needs to develop a strong common voice and bring into play its role, thus contributing to the joint efforts to maintain peace, security and stability in the region and the world.

They also reiterated the need to push for the completion of a framework for a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea by mid-year, creating the conditions for the early formulation of an effective COC.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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