Duterte back from ‘fruitful’ Asean meet



President Rodrigo Duterte returned to the country early Tuesday from the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, where he called for collective action to address territorial disputes, transnational crimes, trade-related tensions and climate change.

Malacañang said Duterte had a “fruitful” participation in the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits, where he took part in a series of interactive discussions with fellow Asean leaders and dialogue partners “on regional strategic issues and promoting partnerships for sustainability.

“The President lauded the achievements of Asean community-building, while calling for collective action to address the South China (West Philippine) Sea dispute, transnational crimes, including trafficking of illicit drugs and terrorism, trade-related tensions, export of hazardous and toxic wastes and climate change,” the Palace said.

“In the context of a changing regional landscape, President Duterte urged the United States and China to exercise strategic restraint and continue on the path of inclusiveness and cooperation,” it added.

As country coordinator of the Asean-China Dialogue, Duterte expressed hope that the Code of Conduct (COC) on the South China Sea would be concluded as soon as possible, according to the Palace.

“Noting the strategic importance of the South China Sea to all countries within and outside the region, the President stressed that the Philippines, as country coordinator of the Asean-China Dialogue, will do its utmost to conclude negotiations on a Code of Conduct as soon as possible. An effective and substantive COC is essential to maintaining peace and stability in the region,” it added.

Amid growing concerns over hazardous and toxic waste, Duterte told Asean leaders at the Special Lunch on Sustainable Development that “it is not right for developed countries to export their waste to developing countries.”

“It violates international environmental law and is an affront to national dignity,” the President said.

Malacañang said the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits concluded with a pledge to further strengthen regional solidarity and cooperation to promote peace and stability in the region and forge stronger partnerships with dialogue partners.

“This year’s summit, held under the chairmanship of Thailand, generated a total of 44 outcome documents, including the Asean Joint Statement on Climate Change and East Asia Leaders’ Statements on Combating the Spread of Illegal Drugs, on Cooperation to Combat Transnational Crime and on Partnership for Sustainability,” the Palace said.

The Philippines participated in all summit meetings, which include the 35th Asean Summit Plenary, 22nd Asean-China Summit, 16th Asean-India Summit, 10th Asean-United Nations Summit, 22nd Asean Plus Three Summit, 7th Asean-United States Summit, Special Lunch on Sustainable Development, 14th East Asia Summit, 22nd Asean-Japan Summit and 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Summit.

But Duterte and some of Asean leaders skipped the Asean meeting with the US on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Palace said Duterte held a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe where the Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership was reaffirmed.

Both leaders touched on subjects of regional and international concern such as the issue surrounding the South China Sea and the situation in the Korean Peninsula.

“On the South China Sea issue, both leaders discussed the drafting of the Code of Conduct to address tensions in the affected region, while on the situation in the Korean Peninsula, both leaders talked about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch and the longstanding issue of abduction of Japanese,” Panelo said.

Duterte back from ‘fruitful’ Asean meet