Peace Palace, Phnom Penh
19 November 2012

President Benigno S. Aquino III and the rest of the ASEAN Heads of State/Government gathered for the 15th ASEAN-Japan Summit. They were joined by Japan Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for a discussion on the review and future direction of the ASEAN-Japan Dialogue Relations.

In his statement, President Aquino said that the Philippines will continue to uphold the rule of law in its engagement with ASEAN, Japan and other stakeholders, as the region strives to put all the mechanisms in place to resolve tensions on the overlapping maritime claims.

He also thanked Japan for hosting the recent economic ministers’ roadshow (April 25-28) for it was able to increase the profile of the ASEAN Free Trade Area in the Japanese business community, and encourage the development of broader and deeper linkages between ASEAN and Japanese small and medium-sized enterprises.

“Through the implementation of the ASEAN-Japan 10-Year Strategic Economic Cooperation Roadmap, we foresee the doubling of the flow of goods, services, and investments between our community and Japan. Let us continue to pursue earnest efforts to integrate our markets and enhance industrial cooperation. By interacting in an atmosphere of mutual respect and fairness, we can all look forward to a future of stability and prosperity in the region,” he added.

In a press briefing, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said that President Aquino made a significant intervention by raising his hand when Prime Minister Hun Sen as chair was giving his concluding remarks on the part of the South China Sea subject.

The President said, “There were several views expressed yesterday on ASEAN unity which we did not realize would be translated into an ASEAN consensus. For the record, this was not our understanding. The ASEAN route is not the only route for us. As a sovereign state, it is our right to defend our national interests.”

PM Hun Sen duly acknowledged the statement of President Aquino and he said that this will be reflected in the record of the meeting.

ASEAN and Japan first established informal dialogue relations in 1973, which was later formalised in March 1977 with the convening of the ASEAN-Japan Forum. The areas of relations and cooperation cover political-security, economic-financial to socio-cultural.

Japan continues to support ASEAN’s integration and community building efforts, including narrowing the development gaps in ASEAN through various sub-regional development endeavours.

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