03 April 2012

20th ASEAN Summit Tackles Socio-Economic Security

President Benigno S. Aquino III will join today at Phnom Penh, Cambodia the nine other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the opening ceremony of the 45-year-old regional bloc’s 20th Leaders’ Summit, which is expected to tackle wide-ranging issues of political and socio-economic security, particularly Pyongyang’s planned rocket launch next week.
After the 9:30 a.m. opening ceremony at the Peace Palace, Mr. Aquino, who arrived Monday via a chartered flight, is expected to attend the plenary session with fellow Southeast Asian leaders to discuss the Phnom Penh Declaration on ASEAN: One Community, One Destiny; the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Drug Free ASEAN 2015; the progress of implementation of the ASEAN Charter and roadmap for ASEAN community under the political security, economic, and socio-cultural pillars.

The ASEAN Leaders are scheduled to sign the Phnom Penh Declaration, the Phnom Penh Agenda on ASEAN Community Building, and the declaration pushing for a drug-free ASEAN by 2015 on April 4, the last day of the Summit.
After the lunch hosted by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen for Southeast Asian leaders, the President will meet the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Representatives, the Civil Society Organizations’ Representatives, and the Youth Representatives. The Philippine-AIPA delegation will be composed of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., La Union Rep. Victor Ortega and the AIPA Secretary General, former Rep. Antonio Cuenco.
Mr. Aquino, along with nine other ASEAN leaders, will have today a Royal Audience with His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia, who will host a royal state banquet for them.
The April 4 ASEAN Leaders’ Retreat marks the Southeast Asian leaders’ discussions of the North Korea’s missile launch, which prompted the Philippines to file diplomatic protest over the issue on Sunday.
ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan announced that the foreign ministers would take up the issue after Manila lodged the protest before North Korea’s representatives at the United Nations, in China, and in fellow ASEAN members.
He expressed concern that the missile launch would result in possible nuclearisation that would affect investment confidence in the region.
The North Korea’s rocket launch scheduled between April 12 and 16 will be part of the President’s agenda during the Leaders’ Retreat. The Department of Foreign Affairs said there are about 60, 000 Filipinos in the Korean peninsula, 10,000 of whom are in North Korea.
Apart from maritime security, the President, during the summit, will also promote climate change and disaster risk reduction management, migrant workers’ protection and welfare, and micro, small and medium enterprises to strengthen the implementation of the ASEAN Charter and to contribute to regional efforts toward achieving the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015.
After the concluding session of the ASEAN summit, the President will join Brunei’s Sultan and yang Di-Pertuan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak in the 8th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Summit. The four leaders will tackle the core strategic thrusts of BIMP-EAGA within the next five years in the fields of enhanced transport, power and communication connectivity, food basket strategy in agri-business and fisheries development, tourism, and environment and natural resource development.
Before his departure for Manila, Mr. Aquino will meet with members of the Filipino community in Cambodia.
Ambassador Noe A. Wong estimates that there are about 6,000 Filipinos in Cambodia, but only 3,497 are officially registered with the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh, while those who are employed in the border of Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam remain undocumented.





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