ASEAN leaders at the opening ceremony of the 32nd ASEAN Summit (L-R): Tun Musa Hitam (Malaysia), U Win Myint (Myanmar), Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Philippines), Nguyen Xuan Phuc (Vietnam), Lee Hsien Loong (Singapore), Prayut Chan-o-cha (Thailand), Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (Brunei), Samdech Hun Sen (Cambodia), Joko Widodo (Indonesia), Thongloun Sisoulith (Laos) (Courtesy of ASEAN2018 Organizing Committee)
SINGAPORE – The 32nd ASEAN Summit concluded Saturday in Singapore with Southeast Asian leaders reaffirming cooperation on trade and regional peace.
However, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the leaders of the 10-member bloc have expressed pressing concerns for Southeast Asia about a looming trade war between the United States and China that could put the region’s economic growth at risk.
“We discussed the matters relating to the South China Sea and took note of the concerns expressed by some leaders on the land reclamations and activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security, and stability in the region”, the leaders said, in the ASEAN Chairman’s Statement issued Saturday.
US President Donald Trump’s administration has threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese imports and China vowed to retaliate.
“We reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law,” said Lee.
Also in his chairman’s statement, Prime Minister Lee said ASEAN is working to devise a Model ASEAN Extradition Treaty (MAET) that is now in its final stage. The regional bloc is also negotiating a code of conduct with China to ease the tension in the South China Sea.
ASEAN leaders vow to use technology to improve the lives and means of livelihood of the people across major cities in all member nations.
Mr. Lee, in the Chairman’s statement, said, “The 10 of us need to work together, align our different political and economic interests, and strengthen our efforts to build a coherent and effective ASEAN community.” – Marje Pelayo |UNTV News & Rescue