Rappler | 11 November 2017
Duterte calls for stronger ties between APEC, ASEAN
by Lian Buan
President Rodrigo Duterte in an unprecedented dialogue on Saturday, November 11, called for stronger ties between the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
In an informal dialogue between ASEAN and APEC leaders, Duterte pitched his 10-member regional bloc as a "hub" for the Asia-Pacific. Duterte chairs ASEAN this year.
"Similar to the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade that leveraged the central position of the Philippines in the Asia-Pacific region, ASEAN can be a hub for the Asia-Pacific region in relevant areas," Duterte said. (READ: World leaders start arriving for ASEAN Summit)
Duterte said ASEAN can be the center of maritime and digital connectivity, disaster preparedness and management, technology, efficient logistics, micro small and medium enterprises (MSMes), and inclusive growth.
"An integrated region like ASEAN, which has developed the tools to achieve this, is a good place to start," Duterte said.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) called the dialogue as as milestone, having been the first of its kind between APEC and ASEAN.
APEC is a forum among 21 member economies, including the United States and China.
ASEAN, on the other hand, is an association of 10 countries, including the Philippines, that cooperate on a broad range of issues, from political to cultural to economic.
Duterte said that the ASEAN can strengthen APEC by liberalizing trade in Asia and the Pacific.
Duterte said that ASEAN nations can help implement the projects and initiatives of APEC.
The way it works, ASEAN nations and dialogue partners come together in summits like this to draw up agreements. APEC, as Duterte described it, is "an incubator of ideas and acts through voluntary commitments and initiatives." (READ: PH to mark end of ASEAN chairmanship with summit, grand celebration)
"Collaborating with APEC on common areas of interest, ASEAN can potentially play the role of a regional pathfinder for APEC’s initiatives," Duterte said.
Duterte thanked Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang for paving the way for the dialogue.
"In introducing a dialogue on how APEC and ASEAN can connect more deeply, our Chair has opened the door to new paths to achieve our shared aspirations," Duterte said.
At the CEO Summit, Duterte also urged APEC and ASEAN to help those left behind by globalization, even mentioning the United States as the first globalization victim which must extend its hand to other countries.
Duterte and US President Donald Trump met in Vietnam on Saturday for the first time and greeted each other with a "See you."
Trump will be visiting the Philippines for the 31st ASEAN Summit which starts November 13.