OPENING STATEMENT SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALAN PETER S. CAYETANO
08 August 2017, International Media Center, Conrad Hotel
Distinguished members of the media,
Friends, ladies and gentlemen.
Good afternoon. Thank you for being here and thank you for your indulgence.
As Chair of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I thank all of you, our friends in the local and international media, for partnering with us in delivering the message to our people that their interest lies at the heart of our work in ASEAN.
I have spent much of the past week in active dialogue with foreign ministers from our region and from the world to look for solutions that will give all 10 ASEAN Member States every chance to drive growth that is inclusive and is not limited to several countries. This we do in honor of the vision of our founding fathers of a peaceful and progressive region.
Reflective of our theme, “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World," the Ministers from ASEAN Member States and our external partners met for three days and we had fruitful discussions on a number of issues.
It is a pleasure for me to brief you on the outcomes of our meetings.
- Meeting of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ) Commission
- The Commission decided to renew the Plan of Action (POA) for another five years, from 2018 to 2022.
- We also exchanged views on how to bridge differences among ASEAN Member States on the reservations of the Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) to the Protocol of the SEANWFZ Treaty.
- While the Treaty has been in force since 1997 with all ten (10) ASEAN Member States as Parties, NONE of the Nuclear Weapon States has acceded to this Protocol.
- We also discussed ways to enhance cooperation between ASEAN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) through the ASEAN Network of Regulatory Agencies on Atomic Energy (ASEANTOM).
- 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
- We discussed regional efforts to further enhance ASEAN Community Building through cooperation under the three pillars of ASEAN, namely ASEAN Political-Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community, and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.
- We also discussed regional and international issues such as developments in the Korean Peninsula and South China Sea, terrorism, piracy and armed robbery against ships, among other issues.
- 18th ASEAN Plus Three (APT)
- The ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (APTFMM), represented by the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and the Plus Three Countries of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, met in Manila on 7 August 2017 to reaffirm the important role of the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation platform in promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity in East Asia.
- In referring to their grouping as the backbone of the ASEAN multi-dialogue process, the APT Ministers held candid exchanges on economic, political-security and socio-cultural issues affecting the region while at the same time highlighting functional cooperation as the main focus of APT cooperation.
- With the adoption by the Ministers of their APT Cooperation Work Plan 2018-2022, the ASEAN Plus Three effectively sets the new direction of APT functional cooperation for the next five years.
- 7th East Asia Summit (EAS)
- The East Asia Summit is a leaders-led forum for dialogue on broad strategic, political, and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in East Asia.
- At the 7th Meeting, we discussed the progress in EAS cooperation and welcomed the development of a successor Manila Plan of Action for EAS Areas of Cooperation to replace and build on the current Plan of Action that will expire this year. We have tasked the EAS Ambassadors in Jakarta to begin negotiations and we hope to see the Plan of Action completed in time for its adoption at the 12th East Asia Summit in November.
- We also noted outcome documents that are proposed to be issued or adopted by Leaders.
- We exchanged views on recent developments in the region and globally that have an impact on the peace and security of East Asia and emphasized the importance of closer cooperation in addressing them, such as in terrorism. We also discussed the situation in the Korean Peninsula and developments in the South China Sea.
- 24th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)
- At the Meeting of the 24th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Foreign Ministers and representatives of the ARF Participating Countries exchanged views on recent developments in the Asia-Pacific region. We explored ways to enhance cooperation between and among ARF Participating Countries to address these developments, including piracy and armed robbery against ship, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, terrorism, trafficking in persons, and natural disasters.
- The Meeting adopted the “ARF Statement on Enhancing Cooperation in Addressing and Countering the Drug Problem,” which was co-sponsored by the Philippines and China; and the “ARF Statement on Cooperation to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing,” which, on the other hand, was co-sponsored by Indonesia, Canada, Timor Leste, and the United States.
- As ARF Chair, the Philippines also launched the ARF Annual Security Outlook 2017. This is an annual publication that features submissions by participating countries about their perspectives on the current state of the regional security environment.
- Post Ministerial Conference Sessions with Dialogue Partners
- The Annual ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) Sessions with Dialogue Partners, namely Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States demonstrate ASEAN’s broad engagement with the world.
- The Post Ministerial Meetings were co-chaired by the respective country coordinators from ASEAN Member States with Dialogue Partners. Under a new format, the country coordinator delivered a Common ASEAN Statement which reviewed ASEAN’s relations with Dialogue Partners and discussed its future direction.
- The Philippines, as country coordinator for ASEAN-Canada dialogue relations, co-chaired the Post Ministerial Conference Session with Canada. ASEAN and Canada are marking the 40th anniversary of their dialogue relations this year.
- The Meetings also served as avenues for ASEAN and its dialogue partners to exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.
- The following documents were adopted at the PMCs:
- Framework of the Code of Conduct
- ASEAN-EU Plan of Action (2018-2022)
- Joint Statement on the 40th Anniversary of ASEAN- Dialogue Relations
- ASEAN-EU Statement on the Paris Agreement: Reaffirming Commitment to Cooperation to Address the Shared Challenge to Climate
- List of Commemorative Activities on the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations in 2017
- Revised Implementation Plan of the Vision Statement of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation: Shared Vision, Shared Identity and Shared Prosperity
- Statement of ASEAN and Russia Ministers of Foreign Affairs on Joint Efforts to Combat International Terrorism
- Implementation Roadmap of the AREPG Report
- Concept Paper on Proposed ASEAN-Russia Think Tanks
- The Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the ASEAN-China Center was signed during the PMC with China.
- Joint Communique of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers
- Statement on the Developments in the Korean Peninsula
- Statement on the Situation in Al-Haram Al-Sharif Compound
Discussion on the South China Sea:
- We discussed developments in the South China Sea and noted that the situation in the area has become more stable than in the past years. We adopted the Framework of the COC and tasked the senior officials of ASEAN and China to start consultations and negotiations on the COC at the earliest opportunity.
- We also took note of the concerns expressed by several Ministers on some developments, including unilateral actions that escalate tension in the South China Sea. In this regard, we reiterated the importance of exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities and the full and effective implementation of the DOC.
- On the sidelines of the 50th AMM, the Philippines also formally launched the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR): “Symposium on Principles, Mechanisms, and Practices of Peace and Reconciliation Processes.”
- During our interface with Representatives of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), we noted AlCHR’s accomplishments from July 2016 to June 2017.
- We also noted AlCHR’s important work in human rights and expressed support for AlCHR’s activities and initiatives including the need to increase awareness of human rights of the ASEAN people.
- The Philippines held the Grand Celebration of ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary on 8 August 2017 at the PICC Plenary Hall in Pasay City. The event was part of the closing of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings on 2- 8 August 2017.
- The Grand Celebration program featured a “Tribute to the Founding Fathers of ASEAN,” which recognized former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak of Malaysia, and former Foreign Ministers Adam Malik of Indonesia, Narciso Ramos of the Philippines, S. Rajaratnam of Singapore, and Thanat Khoman of Thailand collectively known as the five ASEAN Founding Fathers.
- The ASEAN Founding Fathers received plaques of recognition from ASEAN, which were received by their descendants/representatives.
- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presented the plaques of recognition on behalf of ASEAN and also delivered the keynote message at the event.
- Video messages of the Leaders of ASEAN Member States were shown during the event.
- Also, recognized during the Grand Celebration, were the winners of the ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes Awards, the ASEAN Youth Social Entrepreneurship Awards, and the ASEAN Rice Science and Technology Ambassadors Awards. These modern heroes of ASEAN were champions in the areas of biodiversity protection and conservation, social entrepreneurship, and rice science and technology research and development.