Duterte asks US, China to end trade war

Marje Pelayo   •   June 24, 2019   •   2061

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joins other leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states during the 34th ASEAN Summit plenary session at The Athenee Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand on June 22, 2019. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

BANGKOK, Thailand – President Rodrigo Duterte has urged the United States and China to end their long-standing trade war and asked the two super powers to ‘take the high road’ and resolve their differences for the sake of global economy.

“The trade war between the United States and China is creating uncertainty. It is taking a toll on global growth. And it could hinder the ongoing processes of economic integration,” the President said in a meeting during the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Bangkok on Saturday (June 23).

Duterte added that the conflict between the two nations indeed slows down economic integration among countries.

Meanwhile, the President has also urged the ASEAN regional bloc to support the open and rules-based multilateral trading system instead of the “zero-sum approach” to international economic relations.

“We in ASEAN must strengthen our support for a rules-based and open multilateral trading system,” Duterte said before the leaders of the other member states.

“In pursuit of growth, we should be partners not competitors,” he said.

ASEAN has stepped up its efforts on the proposed free-trade agreement Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The regional bloc targets to finalize the trade pact by November.

The agreement involves six Asia-Pacific nations – Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand – with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements.

RCEP would be the world’s largest free trade deal once approved.

President Duterte also emphasized the Philippines support to the ASEAN Single Window initiative with aims to integrate single-window systems of all ASEAN member states through electronic exchange of trade-related documents towards the establishment of cross-border trade.

Duterte to attend ASEAN-South Korean Commemorative Summit for 2nd time

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will be visiting South Korea for the second time this weekend.

The chief executive will go to Busan, South Korea with other heads of states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states for the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit from November 25 to 27.

This is in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the ASEAN-Korea Dialogue Relations which was founded in 1989.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Office of ASEAN Affairs Asec. Junever Mahilum-West said they expect two sessions to take place during the summit wherein the relations between ASEAN and the Republic of Korea will be discussed alongside other big issues that the region is facing, such as the tension in the Korean Peninsula.

“In Busan, two outcome documents are expected in the forthcoming ASEAN-ROK Summit and other side events. And these documents are the ASEAN-ROK Joint Vision Statement for Peace, Prosperity, and Partnership and the Co-Chairs’ Statement on the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit and these two represent the strong partnership between the ASEAN and ROK,” said Mahilum-West said.

Aside from this, they expect to have a bilateral meeting between President Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the sidelines of the commemorative summit wherein several agreements in the education, tourism, social security, and fishing are expected to get signed.

“We cannot divulge yet what will happen in the meeting. But we expect some agreements to be signed on certain areas of cooperation,” the official added.

On Tuesday (November 19), President Duterte mentioned that the country will purchase military equipment from South Korea.  

“Itong Seoul is a vital partner natin. Alam mo kasi ang mga armas ngayon mahal, but we can always buy. Our jet planes, ‘yung FA-50 natin galing ano ‘yun. Now, we are buying Corvettes. How do you pronounce it? Corvette or corvey, or whatever. And buy the arms, I will look into the — para hindi ako mag-asa lang sa assessment,” the President said. (from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

Court strips rising Thai politician’s MP status over election law breach

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2019

Thai supporters show they three-finger salute, as a symbol of protest, as they wait for the Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit to emerge from hearing at the Constitutional Court in Bangkok, Thailand, 20 November 2019. Thai Constitutional Court on 20 November 2019 decided on Thanathorn having lost his status as a member of Parliament on 23 May 2019, was guilty violating electoral laws by owning or hold shares in media companies while registering as a party-list candidate for the general election, an alleged violation of the Constitution and the House of Representatives Election. EPA-EFE/NARONG SANGNAK

Bangkok – Thailand’s Constitutional Court stripped a rising politician of his seat in parliament Wednesday after finding him guilty of breaching election laws by owning media company shares, a decision he considers politically motivated and based on assumptions.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of Thailand’s Future Forward Party, was stripped of his position for holding shares in V-Luck Media Company when he was presented as a Member of Parliament candidate earlier this year, the court ruled in a seven to nine decision.

“There are grounds to believe that the accused (Thanathorn) was a shareholder of V-Luck Media Company, which was still in operation on Feb. 6, 2019, the day Future Forward Party submitted a list of MP candidates to the accuser (the Commission Election),” the verdict read.

Thanathorn – who disputes this version and insists he sold the shares in January – will still be allowed to lead his party and contest future elections.

“The arguments that the court used to decide on my case are based on assumptions. There is no scientific fact that can disprove the evidence we had previously presented,” he told the press following the verdict. “There are more facts which could be found in our documents, but the court did not see them as something important. They only gave priority to their own assumptions.”

The politician said he would continue working and that there was still lots to do, adding that he wasn’t worried about the party being dissolved over other cases pending against it.

Rights groups decried Wednesday’s decision, saying it demonstrated the country is unprepared for free and fair polls.

“Today’s ruling is another indication that despite the holding of elections this year, Thai authorities are not ready for an open and free democracy,” said Charles Santiago, Malaysian MP and chair of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).

Santiago further said Future Forward had been targeted by what are supposedly independent institutions and that the decision demonstrated the status quo’s fear of the newborn party, which came third in March’s general elections and established itself as a driving political force.

Thanathorn, 40, is one of the most vocal critics of the last military junta, which current Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha headed from 2014 to 2019. The ultra-monarchist general has cracked down harshly on any dissenting voice.

However, Prayuth was elected prime minister this year by a coalition of parties after elections criticized for their irregularities and lack of transparency.

Thanathorn has further fueled his argument that charges against him are politically motivated by saying that at least 32 parliament members of the ruling government party also allegedly had media shares but hadn’t been suspended.

Thailand has suffered 13 coups since the abolition of absolute monarchy in 1932 and the army has exerted great influence on the country’s politics, which in the last decade have been agitated by waves of anti-government demonstrations. EFE-EPA

lds

Duterte to attend ASEAN-ROK summit in South Korea

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 11, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Commemorative Summit in South Korea from November 25 to 27.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed on Sunday (November 10) that the president will be attending the summit in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the dialogue partnership between the regional bloc and South Korea.

“He will push through with the trip,” Panelo said.

President Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-In are also expected to have a bilateral meeting to discuss trade and security issues.

The Philippines and South Korea have recently celebrated its 70th bilateral relations.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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