China reclamation Aquino’s ‘main topic’ at Asean Summit in Malaysia
A foreign affairs official on Monday confirmed that President Benigno Aquino III will discuss China’s reclamation work in disputed areas of South China Sea with his fellow heads of state at the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Malaysia.
“Definitely the reclamation issue will be the main topic that the President will raise during the agenda item of the retreat on discussions of regional and international issues,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Luis Cruz told reporters during a Palace briefing.
Cruz reiterated the President’s earlier statement that the reclamation of areas in South China Sea should be a global concern and not just the concern of the region and claimant countries like the Philippines.
He said it was important to make people aware of the seriousness of the situation, especially since it would “alter the way of doing business globally.” He said China’s reclamation has also caused damage in the marine environment.
Cruz, on the other hand, said he would not be able to predict what Malaysia will discuss in the Chairman’s Statement for the 26th Asean Summit.
He said the Asean leaders will be given time to express their views not only on the South China Sea but also on other security issues, including the initiative to prevent terrorism from flourishing in the region.
The main agenda of the summit, however, will be the Asean Integration 2015. The Asean Integration will pave the way for a single market and production base for the region. It aims to make the Asean a highly competitive and equitable economic region.
Recent reports said China is building an airstrip in Fiery Cross Reef (Kagitingan Reef), which is within the Philippine’s exclusive economic zone. AU
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