‘ASEAN continues to engage the world’ – Duterte » Manila Bulletin News

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By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last night said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been able to effect positive changes in the world since its founding 50 years ago, and has been able to establish “meaningful and constructive engagements with external partners anchored on ASEAN centrality.”

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (third from right) toasts US President Donald Trump at last night’s Special Gala Celebration held ahead of the 31st ASEAN Summit at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. (MB Photo)

“Beyond our regional borders, we, as ASEAN citizens, are steadfast in building an ASEAN Community that is united by [our] shared history, values, and aspirations,” Duterte said Sunday evening in his opening remarks at the Special Gala Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the ASEAN at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

“We continue to harmonize the three pillars of the ASEAN Community by strengthening economic integration and building a common identity, while embracing our uniqueness and diversity,” he added.

The dinner was attended by 21 world leaders, who are ASEAN’s partners, including United States President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, among others.

“It is my pleasure to welcome you all to Manila for the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits,” Duterte said.

“I am deeply honored to host this rare occasion where a number of world leaders are gathered in celebration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN,” he added.

Duterte thanked the world leaders for joining in the commemoration of the gains that ASEAN has achieved over the years.

He also said that the Philippines, through its chairmanship of the bloc this year, was able to effect positive change not only in the region, but also globally.

“Throughout our Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017, the Philippines has been guided by the theme ‘Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,’ which captures ASEAN’s resolve to effect positive change in the lives of our peoples and assert our position in the global economy,” he said.

“ASEAN countries continue to engage the world. From its founding, we have established meaningful and constructive engagements with external partners anchored on ASEAN centrality,” he added.

“As one of the founding members of ASEAN, the Philippines has witnessed and contributed to the development of ASEAN [into] the dynamic organization that it is now,” he continued.

Duterte said he was looking forward to having constructive and substantive discussions with the world leaders in their upcoming meetings.

“Let us start on a positive note with tonight’s celebration of ASEAN’s 50 years,” he said, as he proceeded to lead the ceremonial toast.

The Philippines is the host country of this year’s ASEAN Summit. The Philippines last chaired the ASEAN in 2007, and will be host again on 2027. Singapore is set to host the 2018 ASEAN Summit.

The Gala had always been held at the tailend of previous ASEAN summits, but this year, this had been moved up the night before the summit starts.

One of the two objectives of the Gala was to celebrate the Summit with ASEAN and Dialogue Partner Leaders, their spouses, and their respective delegations, through “a special brand of Filipino hospitality” befitting world leaders.

It also aimed to showcase the “best of Filipino artistry and talent” through an evening of outstanding Philippine music, dance, design, and culinary arts.

 





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