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Duterte participates in Asia-Europe meet

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Duterte participates in Asia-Europe meet
President Rodrigo Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on May 13, 2021.
Presidential Photo / Robinson Niñal Jr

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte will participate via video conference in the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, which started yesterday and runs until today.

Duterte will join his counterparts from Asia and Europe in the exchange of views on multilateralism, growth and sustainable development, Malacañang said in a statement on Wednesday.

He is expected to speak on “Rebuilding a Resilient Future” as well as on international and regional issues at the Second Plenary and Retreat Sessions of the Summit today.

The 13th ASEM Summit is chaired by the Kingdom of Cambodia and carries the theme “Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth.” The Philippines joined ASEM in 1996 as one of the founding members.

Marking its 25th anniversary, ASEM will bring together leaders of the European and Asian member countries, the European Union and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat.

ASEM is an informal dialogue process involving 53 partners from Europe, Asia, EU and ASEAN Secretariat, which aims to strengthen cooperation between the two regions in the spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership.

Usually a biennial event, the summit was scheduled to take place in 2020 but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s sessions are expected to touch topics that include COVID-19, health and socio-economic recovery, multilateralism and the rules-based international order (including trade), climate change, connectivity and regional issues.

EU support

The EU sided with the Philippines over the recent Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal water cannon incident and expressed “strong opposition” against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea after Chinese Coast Guard ships blocked and water cannoned Philippine supply boats on their way to the shoal.

“The European Union reiterates its strong opposition to any unilateral actions that endanger peace, security and stability in the region and the international rules-based order,” said Nabila Massrali, EU spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, noting the importance for all parties to respect freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.

Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and water cannoned two Philippine supply boats on their way to deliver food supplies to military personnel in Ayungin Shoal, 105 nautical miles west of Palawan on Nov. 16

The EU cited the Arbitral Tribunal ruling on July 12, 2016, which invalidated China’s claim to historic rights over resources within the West Philippine Sea.

The tribunal ruled that Ayungin Shoal unequivocally forms part of the Philippine continental shelf which is not subject to territorial claim by any other country.

The Chinese diplomatic delegation to the EU hit back, saying the bloc’s remarks would only create a negative impact on regional peace and stability. – Pia Lee-Brago

ASEM PRESIDENT DUTERTE
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