PGMA cites 15 years of ASEAN-China collaboration
Manila (18 October) -- Following is the full text of the remarks of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during a joint interview with the Chinese Mass Media Wednesday, October 18, 2006:
I am deeply honored to be visiting China again to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the ASEAN-China partnership. Open dialogue and trust between peoples and nations has never been more important than in today's world. As I prepare for my trip to your great country, I welcome this opportunity to communicate with the people of China in order to help forge stronger ties between China and the Philippines.
All of the ASEAN leaders are traveling to China to celebrate a very important milestone for ASEAN, the region and the world and that is the 15 years of ASEAN-China collaboration. Speaking as Chairman of ASEAN, I can say that we take some amount of pride and satisfaction in helping China become an economic powerhouse as a result of the economic, political and cultural collaboration between ASEAN and China.
China has surged onto the world stage and ASEAN has surged with it. The change has been profound, and ASEAN welcomes the deepening of ties through the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement. This agreement will be built on respect, reciprocity and pragmatism. It will help all of our economies grow and strengthen peace and security in the region.
So it gives me great pleasure to report to you today that I believe that relations between ASEAN and China have never been better or stronger. This is an important state of affairs that can only help the region and the world.
The Philippines is the Chair of the upcoming ASEAN leaders' meeting as well as host of the East Asia Summit. Both events take place in the beautiful Philippine island of Cebu. I take great pride in representing the nation and the region at these upcoming gatherings.
I am also proud of the role that the Philippines is playing in the integration of China into our region. Relations between China and the Philippines are at an all-time high and are based on mutual respect. I visited China in September 2004 and President Hu Jintao visited Manila in April of 2005. These respective visits underscore the growing maturity of our relationship and the commitment we both share to strengthen our ties.
China is now our number 3 trading partner. We look forward to the day when China substantially raises the level of investments in the Philippines. We are delighted with the investment in our North Rail project, as infrastructure development is crucial to my economic development plan for the nation. The Philippines is the perfect regional partner to aid as a logistics partner and provider of high value, high skilled labor.
Yet what is most important is not what has transpired between ASEAN and China or even between the Philippines and China. What is important is 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 China and later in the Philippines as we forge a vision of what the future will be like for the next generation. (PIA-MMIO) [top]