Almendras: West PH Sea issue won’t be discussed in Apec summit | Global News

Almendras: West PH Sea issue won’t be discussed in Apec summit

/ 03:48 PM November 04, 2015

Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras. AP FILE PHOTO

Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras. AP FILE PHOTO

The maritime disputes involving the Philippines and China will not be discussed in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) senior leaders’ meeting in Manila, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said on Wednesday.

Almendras maintained that Apec is an economic forum and not a political one.


“Apec has always been non-political. The meeting is about economies. The West Philippine Sea issue will not be discussed,” Almendras said in an interview on ANC Headstart.


He noted that the country’s agenda in the upcoming summit would focus on how to boost small and medium local enterprises.

The international Arbitral Tribunal decided last week that it has jurisdiction over several issues in the maritime dispute case between China and the Philippines over the contested South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). The Philippine government welcomed the positive development, but China called the decision as “null, void and nonbinding.”

READ: Philippines scores against China in UN arbitration | Key points of the Arbitral Tribunal’s decision in PH vs China case | After UN court ruling, PH braces for China’s response

‘PH in spotlight’

Noting that the Philippines has already hosted several Apec events in the past, Almendras said what makes the Nov. 16-20 meetings different is the attendance of heads of state of the world’s economies.           

“If the world of sports stops for the Olympics, the business and economic world also does for Apec. This is the time [that] the Philippines is [in the] spotlight,” he said.


Almendras said US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and other heads of states have already confirmed their attendance, but China has yet to respond.

Several roads in Metro Manila will be closed to traffic during the Apec meetings, including Roxas Boulevard and roads near the airport, the Mall of Asia Arena and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

But Almendras said the closures were not meant to hide the metropolis traffic situation to world leaders but more of a safety and security measure.

“We are not trying to hide the Philippine traffic situation. The priority of the government is the security of heads of states,” he said. CDG


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TAGS: Apec 2016, Apec Summit, arbitral tribunal, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, China, Economy, heads of state, maritime dispute, Politics, Rene Almendras, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Security, South China Sea, Territory, Traffic, US President Barack Obama, West Philippine Sea

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