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.
Schools across Thailand re-opened on Wednesday (July 1) with coronavirus prevention measures in place, following months of closure.
Nearly 5,000 students returned to Sam Khok school, about 50 km north of Bangkok, wearing face masks and receiving face shields and temperature checks from the school.
“Once students arrive at school, teachers hand face masks to them because it’s mandatory to wear them. We (school) are also providing face shields for students’ project presentations or for eating,” said principal Chuchart Thiengtham.
He added that students were told to stay in home quarantine for 15 days before school re-started as an extra precaution.
The school has also turned old ballot boxes into classroom partitions to enforce social distancing between students.
“I feel safe, but annoyed at the same time because partition blocked my view,” said 17-year-old student, Soponwich Thianthong.
Thailand on Wednesday marked 37 days without a case of local transmission. The coronavirus has killed 58 people among its 3,173 infections.
The country has extended an emergency decree until the end of July in a bid to avoid the risk of a second wave of the coronavirus, although it is also set to ease more restrictions on Wednesday, including reopening bars and allowing some foreigners into the country. (Reuters)
No more touching in the elevators as a Thai shopping mall in Bangkok installed foot pedals for customers to step on instead of pressing the buttons, lowering the risk of having to be exposed to germs.
“Now everyone is worried about getting infected with the COVID-19 and the easiest way to get infected is that when you touch an object that has been contaminated with the COVID-19 virus, and then eventually touch your face and the virus will go into your mouth, your eyes or whatever. So, we came up with this idea of hand-free foot-operated elevator,” said Prote Sosothikul, the vice president of Seacon Development PLC which oversees the mall.
The foot-operated elevator pedal system is also welcomed by mall customers, saying they felt safer to use the lift without actually touching the buttons, reducing the risk of getting infected.
“I think they did a good job in preparing this. I feel much safer… Now that we can use our foot to press the elevator, it’s really great,” said 26-year-old Watcharaporn.
Thailand on Sunday (May 17) reopened malls and department stores for the first time since March in its second phase of relaxing measures as the number of new cases slowed.
Thailand has reported a total of 3,034 cases of the coronavirus and 56 deaths. (Reuters)
There were no Filipino nationals harmed during the shooting incident in Thailand, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
In a statement, the DFA said no one from the nine reported Filipinos was harmed when a shooting incident occurred in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand, from the evening of February 8 until the early morning of February 9.
“The Philippine Embassy in Bangkok dispatched First Secretary and Consul General Val Roque posthaste to Nakhon Ratchasima to check on nine Filipinos who were reported to have been trapped in the mall at the time of the incident and had been able to escape and confirmed to be well and safe,” the statement reads.
The Philippine government and the Filipino people, meanwhile, offer their condolences to the Thai people, and in particular to the victims and their loved ones.—AAC
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