PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has directed all the concerned government agencies to ensure the success of the country’s hosting of the 2017 Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, by authority of the President, issued Memorandum Circular No. 22, directing all government agencies, and instrumentalities, and encouraging local government units to support and to actively participate this year’s Asean Summit and its related activities.
“The Philippines as this year’s Chairman of the Association of Southeast Nations (Asean), will host the 2017 Asean Summit and its related activities on November 10-14, 2017, with the theme, ‘Partnering for Change, Engaging the World,'” Duterte said in his order.
“The Philippines’ chairmanship also coincides with the celebration of the 50th founding anniversary of the Asean which will be commemorated on August 8, 2017 across all Asean Member States,” he added.
This weekend, foreign ministers from Asean and several other countries will be in Manila for a series of meetings to tackle regional issues, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The DFA said the bloc’s ministers were expected to discuss a wide range of topics, including the South China Sea dispute, violent extremism and tensions in the Korean Peninsula — at the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Saturday, and in the Asean Regional Forum on Monday, when they will be joined by ministers from other participating countries.
As this year’s Asean host, the Philippines will push to formalize the Framework of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, which a technical working group from the member states and China finished drafting in May.
The Asean and Chinese foreign ministers are expected to greenlight the Framework-COC, a document that will provide basis for a set of rules to govern conduct in the disputed waters.
It has been a long time coming since Asean and China signed the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” in 2002.
“We expect that the joint working group will begin discussions on the actual Code of Conduct as soon as the approval process for the Framework-COC is finished,” Foreign Affairs Robespierre Bolivar has said.