President Rodrigo Duterte has called on nations to stop “adventurism” in the South China Sea, Malacañang said, as the chief executive reaffirmed the need to maintain peace and stability in the disputed sea.
In a statement released late Sunday, the Palace said Duterte cited the need to exercise self-restraint in the South China Sea to avoid tension among claimant nations.
The President, the Palace said, made the call as he delivered the Asean-China Common Statement during the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Singapore last week.
“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,” the Palace said.
The Philippines is the country coordinator for Asean-China Dialogue Relations until 2021 as Southeast Asian nations and Beijing are in talks for a code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.
While noting the steady progress in the negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), President Duterte called on all parties to work together for the early conclusion of an effective and substantive COC.
During his attendance at Asean, Duterte called for the quick completion of the COC to manage multiple maritime disputes in the South China Sea.
“[T]he President 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,” the Palace said.
“The President asserted 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,” it added.
Throughout the Asean Summits, the Palace said “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.”
At the sidelines of the regional summit, Duterte also met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien-Loong and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“Both renewed the commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations, particularly in trade and investment and in countering transnational crimes that threaten stability in the region,” the Palace said.
In his meeting with Abe, both Leaders “renewed the shared commitment to strengthen bilateral relations described as entering a ‘golden age of partnership.’”
Abe, the Palace said, expressed support for the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program, increasing bilateral trade and investments and building capacities to address transnational crimes and security threats.
During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in Papua New Guinea, the Palace said “Duterte 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 Palace said the “President emphasized that security, stability and peace and order are preconditions for the growth envisioned by Apec.”
In the Economic Leaders’ 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 Palace said,
Duterte also joined other economic leaders in “emphasizing the need for 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.”
“The President 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,” the Palace said.
“He cautioned against protectionist sentiments and urged economies to treat each other rightly as partners rather than competitors,” it added.
The chief executive also met with the Filipino community in Papua New Guinea.
In his meeting with overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) the Palace said “Duterte thanked their contributions to nation building and urged the members of the community to continue being the best representatives of the Filipino nation.”
“Throughout the Asean Summit and Related Summits and the Apec Economic Leaders’ Meeting, President Duterte continued to advance Philippine national interests and prioritized upholding and promoting the Philippines key positions,” the Palace said. /cbb
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