President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, along with the leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and South Korean President Moon Jae-in do the traditional ASEAN handshake as they pose for a photo prior to the start of 20th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on November 13, 2017. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders as well as its partner countries – China, Japan and South Korea, have agreed to cooperate and unite to further improve their respective economies.
This is amid the rise of protectionism in other countries. The countries espousing a protectionist agenda prevent the entry of international trade or competition from foreign companies to protect local businesses.
The three biggest trading partners of ASEAN have expressed positive outlook in advancing the southeast Asian economic community.
“I hope that through this Summit we can build a consensus and send a positive signal that regional integration and advancing the East Asia economic community serves to benefit the people and the countries in the region,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated the importance of financial cooperation in the region saying, “In the midst of concerns about the rise of protectionism and inward-looking orientation in the world, in order to enhance predictability of the economies of the region, to mitigate vulnerabilities, and to maintain and strengthen the free trade system, the significance of financial cooperation between the ASEAN Plus Three becomes increasingly greater.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in also called for the establishment of a regional community saying, “Let us create a vision for the East Asian community of peace, prosperity and progress that has overcome the complex challenges including protectionist and self-centered approaches to globalization, aging and climate change,”
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also noted during the session the importance of pushing for economic integration.
As the next ASEAN chairman, the prime minister vowed to further strengthen the cooperation and dialogue of Southeast Asian countries with its three Asian partner countries. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue
Japanese elderly villagers protect themselves from heavy snow
FILE PHOTO: A man and his grandchild walk onva street at Tokyo’s Sugamo district, an area popular among the Japanese elderly, Wednesday. | REUTERS
A heavy snow swept across western Japan this week, causing traffic disruptions and trapping many elderlies inside a home.
Shinichi Koike is one of the elderlies. He lives with his wife in Takamatsu village of Niigata Prefecture, where most residents are in their 60s or 70s, as the youngsters have left for big cities to seek fortune.
Every winter, Koike and his wife have to be fully prepared for the heavy snow.
“It often snows near my hometown in winter, so when winter arrives every year, my house will be like this, with a special layer of protection on the outside preventing the effects of the snow,” said Shinichi Koike, a villager.
As fallen trees brought down by the heavy snow have blocked the only way out, power supply and communication were broken off from the village. After the local authority carried out rushed repairs, the power supply was resumed as of Sunday.
In most parts of Japan, elderly residents who live alone have to remove snow by themselves due to expensive snow removal services. Local governments have called on communities to provide help for each other.
There are some elderly people who live alone in my village. They will ask relevant departments for help when it snows frequently, and the staff will bring snowplows. Our village is not big, so everyone can keep on living with the help from each other,” said the villager.
Now, most regions of Niigata Prefecture are still covered with snow. The local government has warned residents to take security measures when removing snow. — Reuters
Philippines, China set to conduct second bilateral consultative mechanism next month
DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano
The Department of Foreign Affairs or DFA defended itself from allegations that it is not taking steps to stop China’s ongoing militarization of the West Philippine Sea.
Critics particularly refer to Beijing’s construction of military structures in the disputed territory, which they alleged, the DFA is not addressing.
Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said, “They are asking why there are many ships, whether coastguard or navy, near PAGASA, because the Chinese are just being sensitive that there should be no build up in the sandbars or in any features because there was an agreement that there should be no buildings.”
According to Cayetano, Philippines and China continue to discuss ways on how to resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner.
Manila and Beijing are set to tackle some sensitive information regarding the West Philippine Sea during their second bilateral consultation in February.
“All the issues, including the concerns of our fishermen, as well as how do we see the long-term: where we will be 5 years from now, 10 years, 15 years from now? If other countries are using militarization, how do you define militarization?” said Cayetano.
DFA noted the two countries may also discuss the possibility of joint exploration in the disputed waters.
“There are samples around the world where there were disputed areas and an agreement had been reached allowing both countries access. That was because they dealt with sovereignty rights or economic rights,” said the DFA secretary. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue
South Korea says planned ban on cryptocurrency market not yet finalized
A Bitcoin (virtual currency) paper wallet with QR codes and a coin are seen in an illustration picture taken at La Maison du Bitcoin in Paris, France, May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea said on Monday that its plans to ban virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized as government agencies were still in talks to decide how to regulate the market.
“The plan to ban cryptocurrency exchanges, recently mentioned by the nation’s justice minister, is one measure in talks to curb speculative investments, which the government will carry on with enough discussion for before finalizing the decision,” an official at the Office for Government Policy Coordination told a news conference.
On Jan. 11, Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges.
Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Richard Borsuk