It is my distinct honor and pleasure to join you here today in the East Asia Summit – the premier Leaders-led strategic forum for our region. The Philippines will always welcome engagements with states and organizations that have adopted the policies of ASEAN Centrality, focusing on the priority areas of cooperation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, particularly, in our case, maritime cooperation. The Philippines, as an archipelagic country with porous maritime borders, considers maritime cooperation as a key priority in bilateral and multilateral cooperation and engagements, specifically in the South China Sea.
We must ensure that the South China Sea remains a sea of peace, a sea of security and stability, and of prosperity. With the UNCLOS and international law as our basis, the South China Sea will be a nexus of vibrant economic engagements and interactions, not an epicenter of armed conflict or geopolitical maneuverings. Let us be guided by the universal principles of peaceful coexistence and friendly cooperation as laid out in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. As High Contracting Parties to the Treaty, we have a moral and legal obligation to work towards finding resolutions and not resort to inciting conflicts. That path leads us only to perdition.
In this spirit, let us continue to engage all stakeholders in Myanmar and call for the urgent implementation of the Five-Point Consensus reached in Jakarta during the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting last April 2021 and to which Myanmar has agreed on more than one occasion.
Further, we should continue to encourage and assist the continuing dialogue and engagements between all concerned parties towards lasting peace and stability in a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
Further afield, we must also exert all possible efforts to bring peace to the Ukraine and move the confrontation there into the diplomatic feat. In moving towards post-pandemic economic recovery, let us continue to build on and improve existing strategies towards holistic, green, and sustainable development to ensure environmentally-sound economic progress.
It has become glaringly clear that there is a dire need to strengthen food security towards self-sufficiency in our region to increase adaptability and resilience in the face of threats to the global supply chain.
It is incumbent upon us, for our sake and that of future generations to act decisively and immediately on climate change. We, therefore, call on our Partners in EAS to continue supporting the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity in its work and efforts towards biodiversity management directed towards climate action.
The Philippines expresses its commitment and continuing support for EAS initiatives, especially on promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment, Strengthening Energy security, Promoting Volunteerism for Sustainable Development — all consistent with the EAS objectives as a Leader’s-led forum on strategic issues.
In closing, allow me to congratulate the Kingdom of Cambodia and our Chair, Prime Minister Hun Sen, for their diligent and inspired efforts in steering the region during its Chairmanship of ASEAN. The Philippines now looks forward to working closely together with Indonesia, the incoming ASEAN Chair for the year 2023, towards continuing our Community Building efforts.
Ladies and gentlemen, Your Excellencies, Your Majesty, our people look to their leaders to us, to correctly navigate the uncertain waters of this new world. Our partnerships will make us strong. Our partnerships will give us wisdom. The future awaits.
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Watch here: 17th East Asia Summit (EAS)
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia