Duterte calls for unity against threats and corruption in the ASEAN region

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 10, 2017

The booming ties of China and ASEAN has made China the biggest trading partner of ASEAN since 2009.

Cayetano said that he eventually conceded, however, to majority of ASEAN foreign ministers.

"Continuing claims that are in conflict with other countries will demonstrate to all of us what kind of country China will be", he said.

Speaking during Asean's 50th anniversary rites in Manila on Tuesday, Duterte said members of the regional bloc must strengthen their alliance "to fully realize the dreams and aspirations for our peoples".

"In view of this positive momentum, we reaffirmed our readiness to begin the substantive negotiation on the COC and tasked our senior officials to start the negotiation on the COC with China", the joint communiqué said.

Tension has risen since June, when Vietnam infuriated China by drilling for oil and gas in an offshore block that Beijing disputes. One of the placards reads "President Duterte, where are the jet ski and Philippine flag in West Philippine Sea".

Cayetano said if he had insisted to exclude reclamation and militarization from the ASEAN statement, "there's a possibility we won't have a joint communiqué".

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister of Japan Taro Kono and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also expressed their concern over the loss of lives and the displacement of thousands in Marawi where government forces are fighting militants linked to the terror group Islamic State.

They reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with global law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

"We will comprehensively address cross-sectoral concerns, including nontraditional security issues and transnational challenges, such as illicit drug trafficking, trafficking-in-persons, terrorism and violent extremism", read the ASEAN Leaders' Declaration. As in past criticisms, they did not cite China by name.

He was referring to the Australia-Japan-United States Trilateral Strategic Dialogue Ministerial Joint Statement, which called on China and the Philippines "to abide by the Arbitral Tribunal's 2016 Award in the Philippines-China arbitration, as it is final and legally binding on both parties".

They urged Pyongyang to immediately comply fully with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

Asean diplomats also reiterated their call for "complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner".

China government earlier cited the role of the ASEAN community in contributing to regional peace, prosperity and stability in the region.

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