Conrad Manila Hotel, Pasay City
October 19, 2017

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte called to end piracy in the Malacca Strait and to enforce a robust trade relations and cooperation among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member Countries during The High Level Forum on ASEAN@50 at the Conrad Manila Hotel in Pasay City.

In his speech, the President said he would challenge the ASEAN leaders in the coming Summit to be united and vibrant with its trade relations with each other, and to copy the best practices on trade cooperation from the European Union (EU).

He also recognized the need to address the maritime issue surrounding the South China Sea, and asserted the country’s position to continue a non-confrontational talk with the parties concerned.

“China has stood fast on its decision. We need not go to war for that. It is not good to add something, which is already a very high-tension existing… If there is one thing that must be immediately solved is really the problem on the Malacca Strait,” of which the President said piracy has been prevalent that could affect trade in the region. He added that he would talk this problem through with the other ASEAN leaders.

“I tend to deal with my last card. That has been my character. And if I get to talk to the leaders, there is one thing I can just offer. Blast them out of the seas to keep our shipping lanes open and safe. They have committed enough piracy there, enough money collected from ransoms, needlessly killing people, decapitating them in front of cameras. I think that has to stop,” he said.

Attended by former ASEAN leaders such as former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of the Kingdom of Thailand, as well as senior government officials from several ASEAN Member Countries, The High Level Forum on ASEAN@50 aims to “bring the retrospectives and perspectives of ASEAN Leaders and officials, as well as eminent persons and the youth on the making, substance, significance, and future of ASEAN.”

The one-day event, commemorating the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN, was hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the Philippine Government, and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), with the support of Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) and ASEAN Foundation (AF) as co-hosts.

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