Philippines' Duterte calls on ASEAN, dialogue partners to help strengthen community
MANILA, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday called on members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN)and its dialogue partners including China, Japan and the United States to help strengthen the Southeast Asian community.
Duterte made the appeal during the formal launching of the Philippine chairmanship of ASEAN in Davao City this afternoon. Diplomats and officials flew to Duterte's home city to attend the event.
As chair of the ASEAN meetings, Duterte said the Philippines "will be firm in its advocacy to promote cooperation between and among ASEAN neighbors and engage our dialogue partners to be more dynamic and vibrant stakeholders in the continued development of our region."
He said priorities of this year's meeting would be to ensure the well-being of the peoples in ASEAN and ensure peace and stability in the region.
"We will place our peoples at the core, work for regional peace and stability, pursue maritime security and cooperation, advance inclusive, innovation-led growth, strengthen ASEAN resiliency and promote ASEAN as a model of regionalism and as a global player," Duterte said.
"This is a tremendous task but one that is not unachievable."
He called on the 10-member states of ASEAN "to rededicate themselves and commit anew to the principles and purposes behind the establishment of our association adherence to the rule of law."
"Now, more than ever, it is ASEAN's spirit of community that will enable us to overcome challenges that we face as a region," he said.
Duterte also called on ASEAN dialogue partners "to be unwavering in your support for ASEAN's continued development and for its important role in the region's security, stability and growth."
"I also call on ASEAN dialogue partners to renew their dedication to the valued purposes and principles stated in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, including non-interference, in promoting regional peace and stability through abiding respect for the rule of law," he said.
"Now, more than ever, it is time for real change through constructive engagements," Duterte said. "We are in this journey together."
The Philippines' chairmanship of ASEAN this year happens to coincide with the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. The Philippines is one of the five founding members of ASEAN.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said the Philippines will be hosting around 100 meetings this year, including the two leaders' level summits in April and November.
Member countries take turns every year to chair these meetings.
During the year-end meeting, the country chair also hosts the East Asia Summit, a forum attended by ASEAN and the leaders of China, India, Russia, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.
During the annual ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting, foreign ministers from the bloc's dialogue partners also attend the ASEAN Regional Forum.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.