Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the 20th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Plus Three (APT) Commemorative Summit on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on Nov 14, 2017. (NOEL CELIS / POOL / AFP)
MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday welcomed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) as a solid foundation for establishing the East Asia Economic Community.
ASEAN and the three Northeast Asian countries have made fruitful cooperation in economic, political-security and socio-cultural areas
Rodrigo Duterte, President, the Philippines
Duterte, who chaired the 10+3 summit, said the two sides have made fruitful cooperation in economic, political-security and socio-cultural areas.
Over the past two decades, cooperation between ASEAN and the three Northeast Asian countries "continued to flourish steadily among the ASEAN external partners' cooperation," he said.
"We owe a great measure of our success to our common bond and vision," Duterte said. "But most of all, sharing common traits and values that are deeply embedded in our customs and traditions help us develop a culture of tolerance and understanding among us, providing a space for positive dialogue."
Addressing the 20th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) summit on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China proposed to advance the construction of an East Asia Economic Community so as to promote regional integration and common development.
Echoing Premier Li, President Duterte urged the APT leaders "to continue nurturing peaceful coexistence, particularly within the APT, where we consider ourselves as one and a family."
He encouraged the 10+3 leaders to formulate a common passion in pushing for the swift conclusion of a regional trade agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
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RCEP is a 16-nation-proposed free trade pact aimed at further strengthening ASEAN markets – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and its major trading partners China, South Korea, Australia, India, Japan and New Zealand.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, an official representing Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Indonesian President Joko Widodo pose for a photo during the ASEAN Plus Three Commemorative Summit on the sideline of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila on Nov 14, 2017. (BULLIT MARQUEZ / POOL / AFP)
Launched in November 2012, RCEP targeted to cover trade-in-goods and services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property rights, competition policy and dispute settlement, among others. It is seen as a good platform for the region to negotiate with other regional blocs.
At Tuesday's summit, the APT leaders adopted the Manila Declaration on the 20th Anniversary of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation which sets the direction and priorities of the cooperation in the coming years.
The APT leaders also issued a statement on food security cooperation that underscores the need to have a stable mechanism that focuses on ensuring a secure, self-sufficient and sustainable region.
"These two documents represent the vision and priorities of APT cooperation and the collective will of APT countries to work for the benefit of their people," reads the Philippine government statement.