Phnom Penh, Cambodia
19 November 2012

President Benigno S. Aquino III and nine other leaders of the ASEAN held talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in the 15th ASEAN-China Summit in Phnom Penh.

In his intervention statement during the meeting, the President expressed his hopes that ASEAN countries, including China, will continue to explore opportunities to cooperate and to strengthen linkages through respect and reasonability.

He said that China’s robust and accelerated economic growth has elevated them into a dominant economic and military power in the region, and has earned them the admiration of many in the international community.

“As a nation that has only recently taken its first steps towards equitable progress, the Philippines looks to China to set the example of wise and peace-seeking leadership. After all, a China that is benevolent and generous towards its smaller neighbors can enhance stability in the region, and allow each of our nations to sustain the growth we have so far experienced despite global uncertainties,” he remarked.

President Aquino mentioned one platform of cooperation, the 1st Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum, which the Philippines hosted in Manila last month. In this forum, stakeholders tackled issues like marine environment protection, sea piracy, seafarers’ training, the promotion of eco-tourism and fishery, and the upgrading of infrastructure and equipment.

“The Forum saw an offer of the United States to launch an Expanded ASEAN Seafarers’ Training (EAST) program, which will strengthen vessel security and build the capacity of seafarers against acts of piracy. This is especially relevant to the Philippines where the people compose a full quarter of the entire world’s seafaring population,” he concluded.