14 November 2017 | Manila, Philippines

Heads of State and Government of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Plus Three Countries of the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea gathered today in Manila for the ASEAN Plus Three Summit that commemorates its 20th year of cooperation.

The steady pace at which cooperation has continued to flourish has seen its transformation from an economic forum to one that now includes the two other pillars of the ASEAN Community – the political-security and the socio-cultural – thus, making the APT a solid foundation of community building in East Asia.

In his remarks, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte reminded his fellow ASEAN and Plus Three Leaders of the central focus of the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation, which is on the region’s people, defining APT as “All-People Thrust.” The President articulated his priorities that include the caring for the environment and helping developing nations to catch up on economic progress and stability so that greater benefits can be enjoyed by the people, particularly the region’s women, youth, the elderly, and the underserved sectors such as agriculture.

On the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the President encouraged the Plus Three to formulate a common position in pushing for the swift conclusion of the regional trade agreement. He underscored that commerce and technology must work together in improving the lives of our people in the region in order to develop a level playing field, particularly for the region’s micro, small and medium enterprises of MSMEs.

The Summit issued and adopted two documents. The first is on the Manila Declaration on the 20th Anniversary of ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation which sets the direction and priorities of the cooperation in the next coming years. The second is on the ASEAN Plus Three Leaders’ Statement on Food Security Cooperation that underscores the need to have a stable mechanism that focuses on ensuring a secure, self-sufficient and sustainable region able to provide food for its people.

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