November 22, 2021
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivered his intervention in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of Dialogue Relations via virtual convention.
The President lauded China’s assistance to the ASEAN Region when the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic broke out, citing that China was among the first countries to provide vaccines to the Region when vaccines were scarce. He expressed satisfaction on cooperative projects aimed at preventing and controlling pandemics, sharing of best practices and technical assistance to further control COVID-19, go full speed with recovery efforts and allow the Region to re-open its economies.
He welcomed China’s ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement as a way to enhance multilateralism, improve connectivity and further strengthen the already robust ASEAN-China economic relations.
The Chief Executive relayed his hopes that urgent climate action anchored on the principles of justice and fairness will follow after the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), stressing that developing coastal states like the Philippines contribute the least to global warming yet it bears the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change. Likewise, he called on his fellow ASEAN Leaders to protect and preserve the Region’s biodiversity and marine environment through sustained cooperation including support for the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity hosted by the Philippines.
He articulated the country’s position on the South China Sea, stressing that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 Arbitral Award provided legal clarity for all nations to subscribe to the majesty of the law. He viewed with grave concern the recent event in the Ayungin Shoal and called on China to exercise utmost self-restraint, avoid the escalation of tensions and work towards the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law. According to President Duterte, the South China Sea should remain a sea of peace, stability and prosperity.
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