Philippines Calls for Enhanced Regional Cooperation at ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting

ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting 1

Undersecretary and Philippine Senior Official Meeting (SOM) Leader Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro delivers the Philippines’ omnibus intervention at the ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials Meeting. (DFA-ASEAN photo)

PASAY CITY 25 June 2021 – The Philippines called on China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to remain steadfast in their commitment to international cooperation and to maintain their vigilance in managing and mitigating the effects of the current pandemic at the ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Senior Officials Meeting on 22 June 2021. 

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro, the Philippines’ ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting Leader, emphasized that “We (ASEAN Plus Three) must remain cautious and continue to set our priorities straight when facing challenges and opportunities in concert with our regional partners. We must not waver in ensuring our peoples’ welfare even as we rebuild our economies and begin easing trade and travel restrictions.”

The Philippines also called on the APT to sustain the transition to a digital economy, in particular for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to ensure the safe movement of people across East Asia, to continue the implementation and harmonization of regional connectivity initiatives across East Asia, and to take into consideration the body of research now being created by the Network of East Asia Think-Tanks (NEAT), which is currently being chaired by the Philippines. Finally, the Philippines welcomed ASEAN’s efforts to understand and define the Blue Economy concept and its various aspects. 

The APT cooperation process began in December 1997 with the convening of an informal summit among the leaders of ASEAN and China, Japan and ROK at the sidelines of the Second ASEAN Informal Summit in Malaysia. The APT Summit was formalized in 1999 when the Leaders issued a Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation at the Third APT Summit in Manila. Since then, the APT framework has become an important driver for advancing East Asian regionalism. END