Speech delivered by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. at the 52nd Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand, from July 29 to August 3, 2019.
I thank the secretary-general for his briefing.
We congratulate Thailand on deliverables so far achieved under its chairmanship, including the adoption of the Asean Leaders’ Vision Statement on “Partnership for Sustainability,” the establishment of the Network of Asean Associations, and the establishment of Asean Satellite Warehouses in Chai Nat, Thailand, and Manila under the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for Asean.
One of Asean’s unique characteristics as a model of regionalism is its ability to bring together the world’s major powers to discuss pressing issues of global peace, stability and progress. Asean is not just a convenor but also a major player in addressing regional and global, traditional and nontraditional, security challenges.
Asean Centrality is the lynchpin of mechanisms like the East Asia Summit, the Asean Regional Forum, and the Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus. While help from Dialogue Partners contribute to regional peace and stability, it is Asean that must put forward ideas and initiatives that bolster Asean’s role as the main driver of its regional architecture—not other powers. This is ours; let’s keep it ours. The only hegemony we should recognize is our associated own.
On the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity 2025, we note progress in the implementation of the Master Plan and welcome the interest of our Dialogue Partners, especially Asean’s rolling pipeline of Asean infrastructure projects.
The Philippines hopes for the adoption in November of the Asean-Japan Joint Statement on Connectivity; the Asean Plus Three Leaders’ Statement on Connecting the Connectivities Initiative; the Asean-China Statement on Smart City Cooperation Initiative; and the Asean-China Joint Statement on Synergies between the Belt and Road Initiative.
On Migrant Workers,Asean’s role is to promote skilled and adaptable work forces; encourage productive employment; foster harmonious, safe and progressive workplaces; and, in the name of decency, the social protection of workers regardless of nationality. We exploit no one.
Wecommend AICHR for imparting a human-rights perspective on all three Asean Community pillars. Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its subsequent adoption by the Asean Leaders in November 2018 is a milestone in promoting inclusiveness in Asean.
The Philippines welcomes the conduct of an Asean Political-Security Community Fact-Finding Mission to Timor-Leste in September 2019 to assess its readiness to join Asean. We support efforts by Asean member-states to continue to provide capacity-building programs to assist Timor-Leste toward meeting the institutional requirements of Asean membership.
We acknowledge the work of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to Asean in facilitating Asean cooperation with Dialogue Partners. To date, 91 non-Asean ambassadors have been accredited to Asean, indicating the increased number of countries seeking formal partnership with Asean.
On Asean Secretariat Operations we welcome the new Asean Secretariat building in Jakarta. We thank Indonesia for its generosity in its construction. We also thank Indonesia for its warm hospitality toward the Asean Secretariat. We call on the rest of us to reaffirm our commitment to the strengthening of the Asean Secretariat as an institution, including through an increase in member-states’ annual contributions. This will allow the Secretariat to keep pace with Asean’s needs in an increasingly complex regional and global environment. Thank you.