President Rodrigo Duterte called on Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-states to cooperate in resolving issues that the region continues to face.
Duterte, through Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, said in a statement that “better” collaboration of the ASEAN members is needed in combating regional security issues, human trafficking, and the concern on illegal drugs.
“The President stressed the need for cooperation in addressing regional security issues, especially the menace of illegal drugs, terrorism, violent extremism, and human trafficking. He said better collaboration among ASEAN member states could prevent the Islamic State from gaining foothold in the region,” Roque said.
Roque added that Duterte as the Chair of the ASEAN-East Summit said that migration, environmental degradation and armed conflict in the region have global impacts, including the effects of climate change and the spread of terrorism and violent extremism.
The spokesman also said that the president, who called for an “open, inclusive, outward-looking” forum, announced the landmark outcomes, as a result of the Philippines’ ASEAN summit hosting.
He added that Duterte stressed maritime cooperation as a new area of collaboration of the EAS summit, saying the situation in the West Philippine Sea has “improved considerably.”
“On the South China Sea issue, PRRD cited that the ASEAN and China agreed to start discussions on the Code of Conduct. He added that the situation in the South China Sea has improved considerably. He said it is important to have a more peaceful resolution for the maintenance of peace, stability, security, and freedom of navigation and overflight in or above the South China Sea,” Roque said.
Roque added that economic empowerment is a ‘key driver’ of ASEAN’s regional economic growth and integration.
“He said ASEAN member states and their partners continue to realize the important potentials of micro, small, and medium enterprises,” Roque said.
“PRRD saw the importance of promoting infrastructure development to facilitate trade, investment and service competitiveness and cited the Philippines’ Build-Build-Build Infrastructure Plan,” he added.
Roque said Duterte expressed “grave” concern on the situation in the Korean peninsula, saying it is a “major” crisis in the region.
He added the president urged the North Korean government to “immediately comply with its obligations and arrive at relevant resolutions.”
“He also expressed support for initiatives to improve territorial relations to establish permanent and lasting peace in the Korean peninsula,” Roque said.
Duterte ended the meeting by expressing gratitude to participating states for their part in the “success” of the Philippines’ Chairmanship of the ASEAN.