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
Activists urge Japan to apologize for forcing women to work in wartime brothels
A protester wearing a mask representing ‘comfort women’ | Reuters
Over 50 activists wearing white face masks joined a sit-in protest in front of Japan’s de facto embassy in Taipei on Tuesday (August 14), asking for a formal apology and demanding monetary compensation for Taiwanese women who were forced to work in its wartime brothels.
In drizzling rain, women’s rights activists wore black shirts and masks representing the “comfort women” – a euphemism for girls and women forced to work in Japan’s wartime brothels – who have already passed away. They also held reeds to symbolize the tenderness and endurance of comfort women over the years, inspired by the documentary film “Song of the Reed” which pays tribute to the women.
Before the sit-in protest, Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation Chairperson Huang Shu-ling handed a letter of protest addressed to the Japanese government to a Japanese official. Police hovered nearby and declared the protest a violation of the assembly and parade act, though they allowed it to continue until the event was over.
Like other Asian nations including South Korea and China, Taiwan has an ongoing dispute with Japan over the treatment of women during the war. — Reuters
Violent tornado touches down in north China, ravaging villages
Amateur footage of Tornado | Reuters
A rare tornado touched down in Jinghai District of north China’s Tianjin Municipality Monday afternoon, snapping utility poles in half and causing damage to local residences.
The tornado was formed at around 17:30 and barreled through swathes of crop fields and several villages.
Videos taken by local residents showed the sizable tornado from a distance and the glass roof shaking while the fierce wind carrying debris across.
Fortunately, no one was severely injured except a man in Xiwuli Village who was slightly bruised, according to the emergency response team.
Xiwuli village was one of the most affected areas with a utility pole snapping in half then hitting a car. A cottage was flattened while damage to varying degrees has also been caused to some orchards.
The clear-up work and repairs to the broken power facilities are currently underway. — Reuters
Japanese Princess Ayako officially gets engaged to a commoner
Japanese Princess Ayako. | REUTERS
Japanese Princess Ayako was officially engaged to commoner Kei Moriya on Sunday (August 12) in an imperial engagement ceremony held at Tokyo’s Imperial House.
Princess Ayako, a daughter of Akihito’s late cousin Prince Takamado, attended the traditional Japanese engagement ceremony with her mother, Princess Hisako, accepting the official marriage proposal and a list of gifts including Japanese sake and clothes that were delivered by a messenger sent by Moriya.
Princess Ayako’s engagement follows Princess Mako’s path to marry a commoner. Last year, Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Japanese Emperor Akihito, announced she would postpone her wedding to Kei Komuro to 2020 until after her grandfather Emperor Akihito abdicates next year.
The couple is planned to hold their wedding on October 29th this year. — Reuters