MANILA, August 8 — The Philippines said that China and Japan have become economic drivers in the region, particularly with China’s growth in the last two decades.
“So it’s very hard to describe the role of one country in one region but definitely in terms of economics for example China has shown economic strength in what, the last 20 years, in the last two decades,” said Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in a press briefing at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City on Tuesday.
He believes that China’s economy has fueled growth in ASEAN, “Tourism from China, manufacturing, the infrastructure projects, so China has played a very positive role holistically in the region.”
Aside from China, Cayetano noted that Japan will also be a driver of socio economic development in the region.
“But definitely China will be a driver for socio economic development in the region. There are other partners who also are drivers of socio economic development, Japan is an example,” he said.
On the other hand, the government official admitted that the dispute in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea has caused some instability causing “certain reactions and strains in some relationship.”
Cayetano noted that ASEAN Ministers have realized that such argument should not affect the relationships among countries in the region.
“The ASEAN Ministers took note of the positive development in this last year, in other words we have to separate our overall relationship with any country and a dispute with that country,” he said.
Cayetano added that all the ASEAN countries are working together to arrive at a solution that would be beneficial to all.
“If you look at the South China Sea the dispute is not only between China and the Philippines, China and Vietnam, China and Malaysia, China and Brunei, we have overlapping claims but we did not allow this to disturb our good relationships with Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia so that’s the efforts that are underway now. That all the positive sides that China can give in its relationship with ASEAN will not be disturbed because of the overlapping claims in the South China Sea and everyone is working hard at this point in time to get there,” he said.