June 27, 2017, 10:13 pm
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‘We are partners for change, engaging the world.’

The 2017 Association of Southeast Nations Summit, which coincides with its 50th anniversary, will be held at the Davao SMX Convention Center in Davao City on January 15.

High on the agenda of the Asean Summit to be hosted by the Philippines is the issue of the South China Sea dispute, including the crafting for a Code of Conduct (COC) for claimants, which hopefully will be completed by the end of this year.

However, the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague that favored the Philippines in China’s blanket territorial claim of almost the entire South China Sea will not be discussed because that is already part of the law, of the
international law. So the focus will be the completion of COC, which would affect not only the Philippines but other claimant countries in Southeast Asia.

The whole purpose of the COC is to manage disputes in a peaceful and non-confrontational way, according to Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique Manalo. He explained that “one of our goals this year in cooperation with China, not only the Philippines but Asean and China, is to try and arrive at a framework for the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea by the end of this year.”

It will be recalled that in 2012, Asean foreign ministers ended their meeting in Cambodia without issuing a joint statement for the first time because of their failure to reach a consensus on the South China Sea row. As the host, Cambodia, a recipient of Chinese assistance, refused to include the maritime issue in the joint statement. 

This was after relations between China and the Philippines reached a low point when Beijing’s maritime claim was voided by The Hague-based arbitral court and reaffirmed Manila’s maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. 

After the Summit in Davao City, two senior economic officials’ meetings will follow later this month also in Davao. And there will be two ministerial-level meetings in February, namely, the ASEAN Ministerial Retreat in Palawan and the Asean -China Joint Working Group on the Implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in South China Sea and the ASEAN-China Senior Officials Meeting in Boracay.

To insure the success of the 2017 ASEAN Summit, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCDO) would conduct seminars and road shows throughout the country to educate the public about ASEAN.

It is the vision of PCDO, in the words of Presidential Communications Martin Andanar, that every Filipino, from all walks of life will know about how Asean has benefitted them.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, his Cabinet, members of the diplomatic community, and world leaders will attend the 2017 Asean Summit in Davao City. 

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Quote of the Day: “The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed! – Anon.
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