WPS to be tackled in Singapore ASEAN Summit: DFA

MANILA The West Philippine Sea (WPS) is one of the issues to be discussed in the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits slated on Nov. 13-15 in Singapore, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced on Friday.

We are quite sure that the South China Sea, as I've mentioned before, would be one of those regional developments that would be taken up in the summit, DFA Assistant Secretary Junever Mahilum-West in a pre-departure press briefing in MalacaAang.

She said the Rohingya and the Korean Peninsula are other issues that would be brought up in certain meetings during the summit.

I think ASEAN is ready to answer this (Rohingya) issue, West said.

West said President Rodrigo Duterte will participate in the summit upon the invitation of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Duterte attended the 32nd ASEAN Summit held on April 27-28 this year in Singapore.

In the upcoming summit, West said ASEAN leaders will also discuss the progress of the region's relations and deepening cooperation with their dialogue partners on a number of priority areas during the related summits.

She said among the priority areas are infrastructure development; economic cooperation; development of micro, small, and medium enterprises; connectivity; non-traditional security issues like countering terrorism and violent extremism; illicit drugs; and trafficking in persons.

Other areas of cooperation include: women and youth; disaster management; climate change; and people-to-people exchanges, she added.

West said the ASEAN Summit will also be an opportunity for leaders to see the progress of the implementation of the ASEAN Community blueprints and the work in moving community building forward, as well as bringing ASEAN closer to the realization of a rules-based, people-oriented, and people-centered ASEAN Community.

Of course, we would expect an outcome document on the rights of migrant workers as well which has been shepherded by the Philippines since the beginning, she said.

She said the ASEAN leaders will meet individually with Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States.

Aside from the Philippines and Singapore, the other ASEAN member countries are Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Brunei.

West said a number of outcome documents are expected to be adopted, issued and noted by the leaders at the ASEAN Summit, ASEAN Plus Three Summit and East Asia Summit.

The leaders will also hold the second summit on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP to look into the progress in the negotiations of this very important document, she said.

She said at least five leaders have expressed interest to meet with Duterte on the sidelines of the summit.

Due to the President's hectic schedule, West said Duterte might not be able to accommodate a meeting with the Filipino community in Singapore. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency