PGMA cites importance of peace, security cooperation in ASEAN region
NANNING CITY, China (via PLDT/SMART) (31 October) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo underscored the importance of the 15th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Commemorative Summit, saying that relations between Asean and China have never been better and stronger.
"The Summit is more important than ever and open dialogue and trust between peoples and nations have never been more important than in today's world," the Chief Executive said in her opening remarks at the Summit held at the International Convention Center of the Li Yuan Hotel here.
The President said that all the leaders of the 10-member Asean traveled to the People's Republic of China to celebrate "this important milestone for Asean region and the world - the 15 years of Asean-China collaboration."
"We, in Asean take some amount of pride in helping China to become an economic powerhouse as a result of the economic, political and cultural collaboration between Asean and China," the President stressed.
She said that as China has surged onto the world stage, Asean has surged with it, adding that the change has been profound.
Asean groups together Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
"Asean welcomes the deepening of ties through the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement. This agreement is built on respect, reciprocity and pragmatism," the Chief Executive said.
The agreement, according to her, will help all of Asean's economies grow and strengthen peace and security in the region.
In light of the recent events in North Korea, the President said, regional peace and security has never been more important.
"ASEAN is not a security organization. It is focused on economic and social integration. Yet this meeting of Asean and Chinese leaders provides a significant forum for discussing economic and security issues. It helps tie the region together and strengthens solidarity in times of crisis," the President said.
She said these are the issues that Asean leaders must focus their attention on and the issues that should be the "subject of our meeting here in China and later in the Philippines as we forge the vision of what the future will be like for the next generation." (PIA-MMIO) [top]