PGMA bares defining issues facing Asean leaders in Cebu City Summit
NANCHANG CITY, China (via PLDT/SMART) (30 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today the defining issues facing the 12th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Leaders’ Summit in Cebu City in December range from economic to security concerns to the relations among the member-nations 15 years from now.
The President offered Nanchang University students a peek into the agenda of the forthcoming Asean Summit in a speech she delivered at the university auditorium following a tour of this city’s leading educational institution.
The President arrived here on the second day of her five-day, five- province official visit to the People's Republic of China (PRoC) to bolster economic, trade and friendly relations between China and the Philippines and to further strengthen Asean-China relations.
The President is this year’s Chair of the Asean Summit, which the Philippines is hosting for the second time since the regional grouping was organized in 1967.
She said the 16 world leaders attending the Asean Summit will have to confront the issues and find answers to such questions as:
"What happens next? What will our relationship look like 15 years from today? Will our economies have improved? Will there be less poverty and more prosperity? Will the world be safer and more secure?"
"These are the issues that we must focus our attention on. These are the issues that will be the subject of our meetings in Nanning, China (today, during the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of ASEAN-China relations) and later in the Philippines as we forge a vision of what the future will be like for the next generation. Your generation," she told the Nanchang University students.
The visiting Philippine leader said that as chair of this year's ASEAN Summit, she has a list of what must be done to further strengthen the Asean-China partnership. These are:
- Promoting the continued joint exploration of the South China Sea;
- Intensifying interactions such as increased trade and investment;
- Investing in tourism; and
- Allocating adequate resources to steer the relations and cooperation for mutual benefits such as China providing preferential loans to support projects of Chinese companies within Asean.
She added that this step should be coupled with Asean's efforts to integrate its 11 priority sectors namely, agro-based products, air travel, automotive products, E-Asean (electronic Asean), electronics, fisheries, healthcare, rubber-based products, textiles and apparels, tourism and wood-based products.
The proposed integration process is intended to result in a "single and efficient production base," she said.
The President said that this production base will eliminate the outright prohibition and unnecessary technical requirements on one another's export products and scuttle the limit imposed on the volume of certain products a country in the region imports.
"These internal integration efforts aim to strengthen Asean's bargaining position vis-à-vis other markets in the world. Together with its partnership with China through the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement, it will create an integrated market that benefits consumers and suppliers alike," she explained. (PIA) [top]