PH hopes Asean would ensure ‘centrality’ amid changing geopolitics
Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo on Friday welcomed his fellow ministers with a call for centrality and quick response to changing geopolitics.
In his opening statement for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Manalo cited the February 2017 Asean Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Boracay.
He said it was during that meeting that they agreed to “maintain Asean centrality and unity, including having a credible, collective and cohesive Asean response in addressing the various regional challenges.”
“We hope to frame our work against this backdrop to ensure that Asean asserts its centrality in the evolving regional architecture, and at the same time be responsive to rapid geopolitical changes in the region and the rest of the world,” Manalo said.
He did not specify the changes and challenges that Southeast Asian countries are facing, although a number of Asean member states have overlapping claims with China on some areas of the South China Sea.
Manalo said the Philippines is determined to work closely with the other Asean countries.
He pointed out that the Philippine chairmanship of the Asean coincides with the organization’s 50th anniversary.
“This milestone event offers us the opportunity to reflect on our past achievements, and to chart the future direction of Asean,” he said.
Manalo said they are expecting the adoption of at least eight outcome documents on the areas of civil service, sub-regional growth and air linkages.
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