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CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT OF THE 31ST ASEAN SUMMIT 13 NOVEMBER 2017
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, CHAIRMAN, 2017 (HIS EXCELLENCY, RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE, PRESIDENT)

8th and last installment
132. We were pleased to note the continuous strengthening of the EAS mechanisms through the meetings of the EAS Ambassadors in Jakarta, the promotion of practical cooperation under the six priority areas and the inclusion of maritime cooperation as a new area of cooperation in the new plan of action of the EAS.

133. We were pleased with the convening of the EAS Conference on Combating Marine Plastic Debris in Bali on 6-7 September 2017, in relation to maritime cooperation. We recognized with great concern that marine debris, particularly plastic waste, has increasingly become a major challenge in the region, as it threatens marine biodiversity and human health as well as adversely affects fishing and tourism activities. We reaffirmed our commitment to strengthen coordinated efforts at the regional level to address this issue.

134. We recognized new external parties’ growing interest in establishing formal partnerships with ASEAN and resolved to consider such requests in accordance with the Guidelines for ASEAN’s External Relations and on the basis of mutual interest and benefit to support ASEAN’s Community building efforts. We welcomed the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ decision to confer the formal status of Sectoral Dialogue Partner to Turkey in August 2017. We were pleased with the progress made to develop substantive cooperation with Switzerland and Germany following the conferment of the status of Sectoral Dialogue Partner and Development Partner, respectively, in 2016.


135. We welcomed the strengthening of ASEAN’s partnership with international and regional organizations such as the United Nations (UN), Pacific Alliance (PA), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), MERCOSUR and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), as well as inter-regional frameworks such as the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC), and welcomed the strengthening of ASEAN’s partnership with these organizations through concrete cooperation. We noted Viet Nam’s initiative to host the first-ever APEC and ASEAN Informal Dialogue under the theme “Partnering for New Dynamism for a Comprehensively Connected and Integrated Asia-Pacific” on 10 November 2017 in Da Nang.

136. We welcomed the work of the CPR in enhancing cooperation with external partners, including closer engagements with the Ambassadors of non-ASEAN Member States accredited to ASEAN (NAAAs) as well as the ASEAN Committees in Third Countries and International Organizations and stepping up engagements with the ACTCs to promote ASEAN in the respective host countries and international organizations. We were pleased to note the celebration of the 50th anniversary of ASEAN by severalACTCs and the visits of the Secretary-General of ASEAN to a number of ACTCs to engage stakeholders and to raise the profile of ASEAN in those countries. We also welcomed various commemorative activities to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN organized by our Dialogue Partners, Sectoral Dialogue Partners, Development Partner and ACTCs which help raise the profile of ASEAN in this momentous occasion.

REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS
South China Sea
137. We discussed the matters relating to the South China Sea and took note of the improving relations between ASEAN and China and, in this regard, are encouraged by the adoption of the framework of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC), which will facilitate the work and negotiation for the conclusion of a substantive and effective COC. In view of this positive momentum, we looked forward to the announcement of the start of substantive negotiations on the COC with China at the 20th ASEAN-China Summit and the subsequent convening of the 23rd ASEAN-China Joint Working Group Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC in Viet Nam in early 2018.

138. We reaffirmed our commitment to the full and effective implementation of the DOC in its entirety, and the importance of undertaking confidence building and preventive measures to enhance, among others, trust and confidence amongst parties. In this regard, we welcomed the successful testing of the MFA-to-MFA Hotline to Manage Maritime Emergencies in the South China Sea, and looked forward to the operationalization of the Joint Statement on the Observance of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea. In our view, these are practical measures that could reduce tensions, and the risks of accidents, misunderstandings and miscalculation.

139. We likewise reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, maritime safety and security, rules-based order and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea. In this regard, we further reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states, including those mentioned in the DOC that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea, and stressed the need to adhere to the peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Maritime Security and Cooperation
140. We welcomed positive developments in maritime cooperation among ASEAN Member States, including through continued constructive dialogues on issues of common interest and concern, marine scientific research, maritime domain awareness, and marine environment and protection, including through the adoption of the ARF Statement on Cooperation to Prevent, Deter, and eliminate IUU Fishing.

141. We condemned piracy and armed robbery against ships at sea and, in this regard, we applauded the launch of the Trilateral Maritime Patrol under the purview of Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA) by the Defense Ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines in Tarakan, Indonesia on 19 June 2017. We were pleased with the progressive development of the TCA and reiterated our support to the TCA and other sub-regional efforts to combat transnational crime, including the efforts to address security issues under Trilateral Meeting between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines on security matters for the benefit of regional security infrastructure. To further strengthen our capacity to combat this scourge, we expressed our readiness to cooperate with Dialogue Partners and other external parties based on mutually agreed modalities and consistent with international law and domestic laws.

Korean Peninsula
142. We expressed grave concerns over the recent provocative and threatening actions, including the nuclear test, by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 3 September 2017 and its ballistic missile tests over the past year, which are in contravention of UNSC resolutions. Noting that these developments seriously threaten peace and stability in the entire region and beyond, we strongly urged the DPRK to fully and immediately comply with its obligations arising from all the relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions.

143. We reiterated our support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and called for the exercise of self-restraint and the resumption of dialogue in order to de-escalate tensions and create conditions conducive to peace and stability.

Terrorism and Extremism
144. We reiterated our strong condemnation of violent extremism and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We are committed to effectively implement the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism (ACCT), while taking into account the international instruments and guidelines, including the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, and the United Nations Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism through de-radicalization, preventive education, involvement of women and youth as well as the promotion of peace and moderation as a counter-narrative.

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