Thank you Mr. Chair, Your Majesty, Excellencies and to our esteemed guest, a warm ASEAN welcome to His Excellency President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Although this is my first time attending the ASEAN-US Summit, it has always been clear to me that ASEAN’s long-standing relationship with the US is indispensable, as expressed in the Joint Vision Statement of the ASEAN-US Special Summit held in April this year.
Our joint statement to establish the ASEAN-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) is a strengthening of our relationship and will serve as an additional anchor to our regional architecture and to the current international order that is presently volatile and constantly in flux.
The extensive maritime security cooperation proposed in our CSP indicates the dominant role and significance of our vital waterways in ASEAN-US relations. I look forward to the implementation of the programs within the intersection of the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific and the US’ vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
With maritime cooperation at the forefront of our relations, it is to our mutual interest that our marine resources in the Indo-Pacific are kept protected and able to thrive and to replenish itself for future generations. Let us continue our cooperation in fighting against illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing and also in combating marine plastic debris and marine pollution.
We welcome the US’ active advocacy and concrete projects in support of efforts to combat transnational crime, terrorism, and trafficking in persons. We must continue this engagement and capacity building programs for our law enforcement agencies and personnel through the International Law Enforcement Academy and support the ongoing work of our Senior Officials’ Meeting on Transnational Crime + US or SOMTC + US.
Beyond our hard security concerns, the world now has to contend with the existential problem posed by climate change. Both ASEAN and the US have experienced extreme, destructive weather phenomena in recent years. We need to come together to mitigate the effects of climate change. We need to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels while securing our energy needs.
We note that the US has taken on a leadership role in this regard and look forward to a closer ASEAN-US working relationship. This is of prime importance to ASEAN as ASEAN Member Countries are all very vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
We appeal as well to the United States to use its global influence to help ease the current global plight of rising fuel prices that we all have to deal with. We also encourage the US’ long-term support for the implementation of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation.
The pandemic has forced us to find a balance between prosperity and survival. Right now, we need to do more than the minimum in protecting our environment. Hence, we also appeal for the US’ support for the work of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity. The Centre preserves ASEAN’s varied ecosystems and mainstreams biodiversity across relevant sectors, this to increase resilience against climate change and its impacts and natural disasters. Furthermore, its work is critical in mitigating emerging and re-emerging infectious zoonotic diseases and pandemics.
The Philippines is fully committed to upholding regional peace and security. We regard as of primary import Quad’s assurance of unwavering support for ASEAN unity and Centrality with the view that such minilateral mechanisms should complement the ASEAN-centered regional security architecture.
At this point, allow me to request the US’ support for the Philippines’ candidature, as the ASEAN candidate, to the UN Security Council for the term 2027-2028. We believe that our experience in building peace and forging new paths of cooperation, will be of additional help to the Security Council. You may rest assured of the Philippines’ committed effort to enrich the work of the Security Council.
Your Majesty, Excellencies, I look forward to the next few years with much optimism. As we soon embark on our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, I look to the future, confident that ASEAN-US relations will continue to deepen and to prosper. Such relations can only benefit both ASEAN and the United States towards a brighter future.
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Watch here: 10th ASEAN-US Summit
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia