Philippines' Duterte hails ASEAN+3 as solid foundation for East Asia Economic Community

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-14 17:59:10|Editor: Mengjie
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MANILA, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed on Tuesday the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) as a solid foundation for establishing the East Asia Economic Community.

Duterte, who chaired the 10+3 summit, said the two sides have made fruitful cooperation in economic, political-security and socio-cultural areas.

Over the past two decades, cooperation between ASEAN and the three Northeast Asian countries "continued to flourish steadily among the ASEAN external partners' cooperation," he said.

"We owe a great measure of our success to our common bond and vision," he added.

"But most of all, sharing common traits and values that are deeply embedded in our customs and traditions help us develop a culture of tolerance and understanding among us, providing a space for positive dialogue," the 72-year old Philippine leader said.

Addessing the 20th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) summit on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China proposed to advance the construction of an East Asia Economic Community so as to promote regional integration and common development.

Echoing Premier Li, President Duterte urged the APT leaders "to continue nurturing peaceful coexistence, particularly within the APT, where we consider ourselves as one and a family."

He encouraged the 10+3 leaders to formulate a common passion in pushing for the swift conclusion of a regional trade agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

RCEP is a 16-nation proposed free trade pact eyed to further strengthen ASEAN markets, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and its major trading partners China, South Korea, Australia, India, Japan and New Zealand.

Launched in November 2012, RCEP targeted to cover trade-in-goods and services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property rights, competition policy and dispute settlement, among others. It is seen as a good platform for the region to negotiate with other regional blocs.

At Tuesday's summit, the APT leaders adopted the Manila Declaration on the 20th Anniversary of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation which sets the direction and priorities of the cooperation in the coming years.

The APT leaders also issued a statement on food security cooperation that underscores the need to have a stable mechanism that focuses on ensuring a secure, self-sufficient and sustainable region.

"These two documents represent the vision and priorities of APT cooperation and the collective will of APT countries to work for the benefit of their people," the Philippine government statement read.

KEY WORDS: Duterte