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World leaders praised the Philippines on how it hosted the ASEAN Summit

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 15th, 2017


MANILA, Philippines — “We also would like to thank the Philippines also for its chairmanship achievements under each of the three ASEAN pillars including the finalization of a framework on a Code of Conduct of parties in the South China Sea,” said Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong.

Several significant agreements were also signed in the summit, including the ASEAN declaration on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers, which will benefit more than 200,000 Filipinos working in other ASEAN countries.

Also agreed upon was the crafting of the code of conduct in the West Philippine Sea which is expected to assuage the tension in the disputed waters.

In the program, Get It straight with Daniel Razon, PCOO Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan stressed that the country has benefited a lot from the ASEAN Summit.

“ ‘Nakakain ba ang ASEAN?’ Iyan ang tanong sa atin. Hindi nakakain ang ASEAN pero yung produkto ng ASEAN pwedeng makain natin(Can you eat ASEAN? That what they ask us. We cannot eat ASEAN but we can eat the products created by ASEAN),” said Ablan.

“Halimbawa sa larangan ng ekonomiya, pag bumibili tayo ng bagay-bagay sa palengke o sa supermarket, di niyo ba na notice na medyo bumaba na ang presyo ng mga produkto na galing sa ibang ASEAN member states? Malaki ang binaba. Hindi po smuggled yun. Dala po yun ng ASEAN kasi nagkaroon po ng agreement ang sampu, yung free trade natin wala pong papatawan ng tax,” said Ablan.

(Translation: For example, in the field of economics, when you buy goods in the market or supermarket, have you not noticed the decrease in prices of goods that are from ASEAN member states? There is a significant decrease. These are not smuggled goods. It was made possible by the ASEAN through the free trade agreement between the 10 member-states; no taxes will be imposed.)

The cut down on airfare going to and from ASEAN member states is also a result of the summit.

Ablan stressed that, although guaranteed, other benefits from the ASEAN Summit will not be immediately felt.

“Hindi niyo nararamdaman overnight (It will not be realized overnight). It takes time pero (but) the way everything is cheaper now, it is the result of a collaboration such as ASEAN,” said the assistant secretary.

The government spending for the ASEAN Summit has totaled to more than 15 billion pesos.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), however, clarified that the said fund had not been used only for this week’s gathering of leaders but also since the beginning of the country’s preparations wherein several ASEAN meetings had also taken place. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

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Thailand accepts ASEAN Chairmanship for 2019 , vows to ‘advance partnership for sustainability’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, November 15th, 2018

 

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong formally hands over the ASEAN chairmanship to Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha during the closing ceremony of the 33rd Asean Summit on November 15, 2018.

 

SINGAPORE – The Chairmanship of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was finally handed over by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha at the conclusion of the 33rd ASEAN Summit on Thursday (November 15).

In his closing remarks, the outgoing ASEAN Chair Prime Minister Lee thanked all ASEAN members and outside partners for the support towards Singapore’s vision of a resilient and innovative ASEAN.

He presented an infographic that reflects all the initiatives that ASEAN was able to established under Singapore’s leadership this year.

He called on all ASEAN members to maintain the spirit of unity and “continue to think regionally” despite individual and national interests.

“This is just the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for us. We are not and never will be done building and strengthening the ASEAN Community. We must continue to uphold the ASEAN friendship framework and engage our partners, keep our region open. We must be on the core of economic integration and pool our talents and resources to improve our people’s lives,” Prime Minister Lee said.

“Singapore has full confidence that Thailand as the incoming ASEAN chair will continue to take ASEAN forward and will uphold to continue working with the rest of the ASEAN family to fulfill our common goal – one vision, one identity, one community,” he added as he formally handed over the chairmanship to Thailand.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha in his acceptance speech vowed that: “Thailand will continue the good work on issues to which ASEAN has given priority in the past years.”

Specifically, PM Prayuth emphasized the ASEAN Smart Cities Network which aims at ensuring continuity and and sustainability in the ASEAN community.

He noted that since the establishment of ASEAN in 1967, it is commendable that the regional bloc has grown into becoming “a community and a region of peace and security” and has grown as the 6th largest economy in the world with roles recognized internationally.

He hopes that ASEAN will be able to grow to become the 4th largest economy in 2030.

The Thai prime minister acknowledges that there are a number of challenges ahead and so he encouraged all ASEAN member states to continue working in unity.

“All 10 countries must collaborate even more closely on the foundation of ASEAN unity on the principle of three M’s – mutual trust; mutual respect; and mutual benefit – to realize concrete deliverables and sustainability for ASEAN in all dimensions,” he said.

Before he ended his speech, the incoming Chair announced next year’s ASEAN theme which is “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability.”

In accordance with the regional grouping’s rotating chairmanship, Singapore will again have its turn as host of the ASEAN in year 2028. – Marje Pelayo

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Palace on alleged Chinese weather stations in WPS: Diplomatic process will be taken

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, November 5th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of China occupied Subi Reef at Spratly Islands in disputed South China Sea April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Francis Malasig/Pool

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is unfazed by reports that allegedly the Chinese government has already installed weather facilities in some of the artificial islands in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said such report needs to be verified first.

“We have to get the confirmation of that because that is merely a news report,” Panelo said.

Knowledge on the alleged weather stations were recently heard from Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang who said: “China has begun operating a maritime observation center, a meteorological observatory and a national environmental and air quality monitoring station on reefs of the Nansha Islands.”

“These projects are designed to observe the maritime, hydrological, meteorological conditions and air qualities and provide such services as maritime warning and forecast, tsunami alert, weather forecast, air quality forecast and disaster prevention and relief,” the Chinese official added.

In case the report is true, the Duterte administration will definitely act on the matter.

“Certainly, the DFA will do its work and make the necessary diplomatic process,” Panelo assured.

Meanwhile, Malacañang has no specific details yet on the three joint exploration agreement that is supposed to be signed between the Philippines and China during the upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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U.S. warship sails near disputed South China Sea islands: U.S. official

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, October 1st, 2018

An aerial view of uninhabited island of Spratlys in the disputed South China Sea, April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Sunday, a U.S. official told Reuters, potentially angering Beijing at a time of tense relations between the two countries.

Beijing and Washington are locked in a trade war that has seen them impose increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on each other’s imports.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the destroyer Decatur traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands.

The operation was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, where Chinese, Japanese and some Southeast Asian navies operate.

China’s claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

“We conduct routine and regular freedom-of-navigation operations, as we have done in the past and will continue to do in the future,” the U.S. official added.

China’s foreign ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of islands and military facilities in the area and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.

The U.S. military has a long-standing position that its operations are carried out throughout the world, including in areas claimed by allies, and are separate from political considerations.

The latest move comes at a particularly tense time in relations between the United States and China.

Friction between the world’s two biggest economies is now moving beyond trade, with U.S. President Donald Trump accusing Beijing this week of seeking to interfere in congressional elections, marking a new phase in an escalating campaign by Washington to put pressure on China.

China recently denied a request for a U.S. warship to visit Hong Kong and this month Beijing postponed joint military talks in protest against a U.S. decision to impose sanctions on a Chinese military agency and its director for buying Russian fighter jets and a surface-to-air missile system.

In May two U.S. Navy warships sailed near South China Sea islands claimed by China.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by David Goodman

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