Duterte looks forward to ‘constructive’ discussions at 31st Asean Summit
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night welcomed to Manila his fellow leaders from Southeast Asia and world leaders – led by US President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – attending the 31st Asean Summit that coincided with the 50th founding anniversary of regional bloc.
Duterte, accompanied by his partner Cielito “Honeylet‘ Avanceña, hosted a gala dinner for the leaders at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Duterte read his brief welcome remarks that was anchored on the principles stated in the Asean Charter and the Asean Community Vision 2025. He was flanked by Avanceña and Trump.
The Philippines is the chairman of this year’s Asean, which follows a rotating chairmanship among its 10- member nations.
Duterte said that throughout the Philippines’ chairmanship this year Asean was guided by the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World” which was meant to “effect positive change in the lives of our people and assert our position in the global economy.”
“Beyond our regional borders, we Asean citizens are steadfast in building an Asean community that is united by our shared history, values, and aspirations,” Duterte said.
He also said that the Asean community is strengthened through “economic integration and building a common identity while embracing our uniqueness and diversity.”
Duterte emphasized how Asean countries have also engaged in “meaningful engagements with partners anchored on Asean centrality.”
He said that he looked forward to “having constructive and substantive” discussions in the upcoming meetings.”
Former Presidents Fidel Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now a Pampanga province district representative, were at the gala dinner.
Ramos’s father, Narciso, was one of the five founding fathers of the Asean when it was established in 1967, being the Philippines’ foreign affairs secretary at that time.
The other founding fathers were the foreign affairs ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. /atm
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