DUTERTE BACK FROM ASEAN, APEC SUMMITS
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joins other leaders from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries during the Informal Dialogue with the International Monetary Fund at the APEC Haus in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on November 18, 2018. (Rey Baniquet/Presidential Photo)
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte returned to the country on Sunday evening from the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Singapore and the 26th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) in Papua New Guinea from Nov. 12 to 18.
Duterte arrived around 7 p.m. at the Davao City International Airport from Papua New Guinea.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte had a “fruitful and productive participation” in the two important regional summits, where the President continued to advance Philippine interests and prioritized the upholding and promotion of the country's key positions.
At the AELM, Panelo said Duterte “actively engaged in important discussions and advanced our country’s priorities in what we consider as the most important economic cooperation platform in the world”.
Panelo said Philippine trade with APEC economies comprise 84 percent of the country’s trade worldwide.
“With the President’s undiminished dedication to our country’s economic progress and the formidable support he was able to solicit from the respective leaders of the APEC Community, we are enthusiastic to say that this trip not only benefited our country today but also its overall economy in the following years,” Panelo said in his press statement.
Duterte had discussed with the APEC Business Advisory Council the need to trade freely, fairly and openly, to spur economic activities and for transfer technology and invest in capacity building.
“Throughout his discussions, the President emphasized that security, stability and peace and order are preconditions for the growth envisioned by APEC,” Malacañang said in a separate statement.
During APEC meetings, Duterte championed Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSMEs), calling them the backbone of many economies.
“While noting that the digital platform offered opportunities for growth in the global economy, the President drew attention to the wide digital divide that – if left unaddressed – could offload MSMEs in developing nations from the becoming active players,” the statement read.
The President joined other Economic Leaders in emphasizing the need for a greater cooperation to further capacitate MSMEs and educate entrepreneurs in order to make them active players and contributors in the global supply and market chain.
He likewise reaffirmed the importance of a rules-based multilateral trading system so that shared and sustainable progress and prosperity as envisioned by APEC could be achieved.
Duterte also cautioned against protectionist sentiments and urged economies to treat each other rightly as partners rather than competitors.
In his meeting with the Filipino Community in Port Moresby, Duterte thanked their contributions to nation building and urged the members of the community to “continue being the best representatives of the Filipino nation”.
Before the AELM, Duterte attended the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits from Nov. 13 to 15 in Singapore.
Together with other ASEAN Leaders, Duterte underscored the importance of ASEAN centrality and community building in the emerging regional architecture.
He emphasized the need to sustain ASEAN efforts toward building a resilient and innovative region while underscoring the need for developing relations with Dialogue Partners based on mutual respect for sovereignty.
With the Philippines assuming the role of Country Coordinator for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, Duterte delivered the ASEAN-China Common Statement where he reaffirmed ASEAN and China’s shared commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
Duterte noted the steady progress in the negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) while calling on all parties to work together for the early conclusion of an effective and substantive COC.
In his National Statement, Duterte reaffirmed the need to maintain and promote peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea and stressed the need to exercise self-restraint and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation.
He emphasized that aggressive moves by nations can worsen the situation “with damage that could be exponential”.
The President urged stakeholders to desist from adventurism in the South China Sea.
“Throughout the ASEAN Summits, the Philippines clearly articulated its principled position on the need for a rules-based order in the region while underscoring the imperative for security and stability as necessary conditions for sustained growth and development,” the Palace said.
Duterte had also reaffirmed the importance of, and contributions of positive engagements between ASEAN and Dialogue Partners, including India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States.
At the sidelines of the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, Duterte met Prime Minister Lee Hsien-Loong whom he congratulated for Singapore’s successful ASEAN Chairmanship.
Both Duterte and Lee renewed the commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations, particularly in trade and investment and in countering transnational crimes that threaten stability in the region.
Duterte also met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the two leaders renewing the shared commitment to strengthen bilateral relations described as entering a “golden age of partnership.”
Abe expressed support for key Philippine initiatives under Duterte’s administration, particularly infrastructure development under the Build, Build, Build program, increasing bilateral trade and investments and building capacities to address transnational crimes and security threats.
The President likewise had several pull-aside discussions with ASEAN Leaders and ASEAN Dialogue Partners and used the opportunity to renew friendly and cooperative ties. (PNA)