President Rodrigo Duterte warmly welcomed on Tuesday European Union (EU) President Donald Tusk during a meeting with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-member states.
“The EU occupies a special place in the Asean’s external relations, as it is a natural partner of Asean community-building and integration,” Duterte said during the 40th Asean-EU Commemorative Summit.
“Our increasing people-oriented, people-centered agenda drives Asean-EU cooperation on the bulk of long-standing historical and commercial ties,’ he added.
Duterte said the summit would “assess our record of cooperation for over four decades and provide directions to bring Asean-EU relations to new heights.”
Tusk, meanwhile, thanked Duterte for his warm welcome.
“I am honored to be here today to celebrate 40th of Asean-EU friendship,” Tusk said.
“I would like to thank you all, and the Philippines in particular, for inviting the European Union to attend the East Asia Summit today as your guest,” he added.
Tusk said the Asean and EU “have forged their relationship of which we can rightly be proud.”
“The potential for greater engagement is enormous. From trade to climate, from maritime security to counter-terrorism. Together, we can make our two regions stronger,” he said.
“We are working towards a strategic partnership to encompass not only trade, investment and sectoral cooperation but also more security cooperation,’ he added.
Tusk also shared how Asean and EU could help fight terrorism, citing that terrorist ideologies have spread across continents.
“We can mitigate the threat if we work together, sharing information on suspects and trends of concern,’ he said.
“Asean and the EU are already developing anti-terror cooperation through information sharing via Interpol and Europol and the exchange of best practices on dealing with violent extremism,” he added.
Tusk lauded the cooperation of the Asean and EU for promoting free and fair trade.
“Free and fair trade is and always will be in our DNA,” he said.
He said EU investors are the leading providers of foreign direct investment to Asean countries. /jpv
Check out our Asean 2017 special site for important information and latest news on the 31st Asean Summit to be held in Manila on Nov. 13-15, 2017. Visit http://inquirer.net/asean-2017.
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