MARCOS SPEAKS AT ASEAN SUMMIT President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. maintains that the South China Sea must remain ‘a sea of peace, security, stability and prosperity.’ Speaking at the 17th East Asian Summit in Cambodia on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, the President also called for the ‘denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,’ support for advancing women’s economic empowerment, increased energy cooperation, promoting volunteerism, addressing climate change and improving food security. PHOTO FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. used the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as a platform to touch base with geopolitical rivals China and the United States.
The President met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the Asean Plus Three Summit on Saturday, and the two discussed Marcos’ planned meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in January.
Addressing the 10th Asean-US Special Summit later in the day, Marcos called on the US to step up cooperation in the fight “against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and also in combating marine plastic debris and marine pollution.”
Speaking through an interpreter, Li told Marcos that what their countries have in common “far outweighs” their differences.
“I absolutely agree. And I thank you for remembering my father and his initiative to come to China and it was he after all who made the Philippines and China family,” Marcos replied.
Li said it took courage for the President’s father, Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., to visit China in 1975 when he was president. At that time, China had not yet fully opened its doors to the West.
“It did, but it was something very important to us… He has been proven right because the partnership with China has been a great benefit to both our countries,” said Marcos.
Marcos has accepted Xi’s invitation to visit in the first week of January. The President said he looks forward to discussing how to further expand the Philippines’ partnerships with China.
Li said he hoped for close collaboration with the Philippines and other Asean nations to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea. He said the only way to guarantee this is by adhering to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and international laws, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“And also let’s work together for successful meetings,” Li said, referring to the Asean-Plus Three (APT) which consists of the 10 Asean member states and China, Japan and South Korea.
During the Asean-US summit, Marcos said his administration was stepping up efforts to combat crimes against Filipinos overseas such as terrorism and human trafficking.
He asked for the continuation of the engagement and capacity-building programs for law enforcement agencies and personnel through the International Law Enforcement Academy and the Senior Officials’ Meeting on Transnational Crime + US (SOMTC + US).
Marcos assured the Philippines’ full commitment to attaining regional peace and security.
“We regard as of primary import Quad’s assurance of unwavering support for Asean unity and Centrality with the view that such minilateral mechanisms should complement the Asean-centered regional security architecture,” he noted.
Quad is the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the US.
The President said the joint statement to establish the Asean-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) “is a strengthening of our relationship and will serve as an additional anchor to our regional architecture and to the current international order that is presently volatile and constantly in flux.”
The CSP is designed to “reflect the ambitious outcomes of the 9th Asean-US Summit and the 2022 Asean-US Special Summit and to open new areas of cooperation vital to the future prosperity and security of our combined 1 billion people, and task our officials to follow up on its implementation.”
Also on Saturday, Marcos and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed to further strengthen the partnership between their two governments.
The two leaders had a brief chat during a break in the APT summit, with Kishida noting he was very pleased to have a talk with Marcos in New York City last September.
“Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the friendship and cooperation between Japan and Asean. And I look forward to advancing the cooperation between Asean and Japan,” Kishida told Marcos.
In response, the President said the Philippines and Japan can achieve anything, “as long as they are together.”
“All of the concepts that we first started to discuss when we were in New York, we are continuing to develop in our government so that when the time comes this concept that you have introduced to us on economic stability, is something … that Asean, the Philippines — we will continue to develop more of these ideas, and these concepts,” he said.
Kishida said he looks forward to Marcos’ state visit to Japan, although no date has been set for it.