MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines urged Southeast Asian countries and dialogue partners to heighten cooperation and “not lose sight” of common areas of concern such as transnational crime, terrorism, and maritime security even with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Foreign Affairs Acting Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro issued the call during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Regional Forum (ARF) meeting of senior officials held on Tuesday, June 29.
“In the second year of the pandemic, it is important for us not to lose sight of our cooperation on abiding issues of common concern. The ARF provides a significant venue for such dialogue and exchanges,” Lazaro was quoted as saying in a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs issued Thursday.
The ARF is a platform for dialogue and practical cooperation among 27 participating countries.
Participants include Asean member countries and dialogue partners such as Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Korea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, and the United States.