Asean defense chiefs to issue ‘unifying statement’ on West PH Sea row


Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Thursday that defense ministers from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) would be coming up with a statement or a resolution on the dispute within the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Lorenzana made the assurance as he is set to chair the upcoming 11th Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) from October 23 to 24 in Clark, Pampanga.

“Of course, we are going to have a resolution on some of the conflicts within the West Philippine Sea,” he said in a news conference and media seminar on Disaster and Risk Reduction Management in Subic, Zambales.

The Philippine Defense chief is also hoping that other Asean and Asean-Plus member countries could come up with a unifying statement.

Aside from the Philippines, other Asean member countries are Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei Darussalam.

Asean Plus countries are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, United States and countries of Korea.

Lorenzana also noted that aside from the expectation of coming up with a resolution or a statement over the West Philippine Sea dispute, the top Asean defense chiefs will also be convening to address different issues including countering terrorism, climate mitigation and drug problems.

“[This] will be a huge conference. We will talk about common interests so of course, we will discuss terrorism, drugs [problem]and of course, we are in the area where we suffered a lot of calamities so we will also talk about disaster management,” he said. DEMPSEY REYES


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