The recently concluded ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) SUMMIT held in the Philippines from November 12 to 15, 2017, had the following topics in the roster:
· Economy and Trade
· Business and Investments
· Terrorism, Extremism and Piracy
· Transnational Crime
· South China Sea Dispute
· Missile Launches in North Korea
· Climate Change and Disasters
· Rohingya Crisis and Human Rights Violations
The event was participated in by ASEAN world leaders namely: Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos, Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam.
Also present in the summit as dialogue partners were: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang of the People's Republic of China, President Donald Tusk of the European Council, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, President Moon Jae-In of South Korea, President Donald Trump of the United States of America and Secretary General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations.
The overall outcome of this event resulted to some satisfactory and unsatisfactory reactions. The majority of it gave promising results and positive ties, with a little bit of tension on one or two issues. Let's take a look at each of them briefly.
ECONOMY and TRADE - This was the major topic that was on the agenda during the first day of the summit. The main concerns that were taken up during the meeting were the intentions to enhance ASEAN's economic trade with Japan, to upgrade the existing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and to discuss thoroughly on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez was quoted to have said before the ASEAN council of leaders, "We have, as our major agenda, the preparations for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), wherein we will take stock of on what we have accomplished as far in moving the AEC forward." To read more about it, click HERE
BUSINESS and INVESTMENTS - This topic on business and investment for the growth and development of Southeast Asia, spread out from the first to the final day of the summit. It highlighted topics on issues and opportunities surrounding business and investment, a welcome venue for talks with the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) stakeholders both regional and global. More information on this topic, click HERE
TERRORISM, EXTREMISM and PIRACY- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stressed in his welcome address at the plenary before the ASEAN leaders, the importance to resolve the grave issue on the stability and safety of the region that is continuously being shaken by these acts of terrorism, extremism and piracy.
He said, “Other deliverables that will see fruition include those concerning health, women and the youth, terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism, trafficking, poverty alleviation, food security, coastal and marine environment and the pursuit of innovation for our economies, among others." Click HEREto read more on this.
TRANSNATIONAL CRIME- This has more to do with illegal trade into the borders by persons who smuggle goods and drugs, as well as human trafficking. In the same note, President Duterte elaborated on the importance to address these illegal acts as they have a magnifying effect on the people and its society. To read about his appeal on this matter, click HERE.
SOUTH CHINA SEA DISPUTE- One of the ASEAN summit's wins was strengthening the bilateral ties between the Philippines and China, on the issue of the South China Sea dispute. The two countries have entered into 14 Agreements as a result. Read more about it by clicking HERE.
MISSILE LAUNCHES in NORTH KOREA- In the Chairman Statement that was said to have been issued in the Philippines on November 13, 2017 during the ASEAN Summit, it aimed to call to attention the violation committed by North Korea in launching nuclear missile tests. The ASEAN council is looking to achieve a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful way. Click HEREfor additional details on this.
CLIMATE CHANGE and DISASTERS– The leaders of the developed countries who have committed to help mitigate climate change were given a reminder at the summit. Among their pledged commitments was a $100B annual fund intended for climate finance. Click HEREfor additional details on this.
ROHINGYA CRISIS and HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS- It was initially being noted that the issue on the Rohingya Crisis was being ignored but contrary to that allegation, this was actually taken up between the UN Secretary General and the leader of Myanmar, during their meeting on November 14, 2017 at the ASEAN Summit. Click HEREfor the full story.
On the other hand, concerning Human Rights Violations, the highlight on this topic created a sour atmosphere between the Philippine President and the Prime Minister of Canada. The former calling it a "personal and official insult", on the latter's statement when he said he aired his stand on the rule of law on human rights to President Duterte, specific to the Extra Judicial Killings (EJK) on the War on Drugs, as a concern for Canada, but that they are willing to help the Philippines in this regard. Read the full story HERE.
In totality, with the chairmanship of the Philippines in the 31st ASEAN Summit, this meeting of world leaders had more agreements than disagreements. The only question now is how far and true they will live up to their commitments.