PBBM vows to deepen Asean cooperation amid geopolitical tension, climate change


President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday pushed for regional order and cooperation amid intensified geopolitical tensions and accelerating climate change during the 18th East Asia Summit in Indonesia.

Foremost of the said regional challenges, Marcos said, are the territorial issues in the South China Sea (SCS) and the buildup of global weapon stockpiles.

Assertive activities

He called on parties involved in SCS conflict to refrain from committing “unilateral and assertive activities,” which can spark regional misunderstandings, and miscalculations.

Such activities, Marcos said, include the dangerous use of coast guard and maritime militia vessels, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and the militarization of reclaimed features in SCS.

The Philippines was among the countries, which protested against China for engaging in such actions.

The President said he is determined to finally address the matter through the completion of the Code of Conduct (COC) of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) for SCS.

“The Philippines remains resolute towards the peaceful resolution of disputes. We continue to support freedom of navigation and overflight, and the rules-based international order in the South China Sea,” Marcos said.

Dangers to global peace

The President also expressed concern over Russia’s threat of using nuclear weapons in its war with Ukraine as well as North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests, which he said, “pose untold dangers to global peace and security.”

He called for the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine and for North Korea to comply with all relevant United Nation Security Council resolutions.

Marcos also reiterated his appeal to Myanmar for its government to complete the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus of Asean.

The consensus aims to end the conflict in Myanmar after its military seized control of its government in 2021.

“We maintain that endeavors by other parties to address the crisis should support and complement Asean’s efforts, and should be done in consultation with the Asean Chair,” Marcos said.

Loss and Damage Fund

On the issue of global warming, the President continued to advocate for the creation of an international Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) for those countries, which are now reeling from the effects of climate change.

He said the LDF would help the affected countries transition to a climate-resilient economy.

The country, he said, is eyeing such financing to develop local strategic minerals supply and value chains.

Addressing the said global concerns will only be possible through a joint international action, according to Marcos.

“We call on Asean and our partners to harness our shared interests and rally us into taking joint action, guided by Asean Centrality and universal multilateralism,” the President said.

The 18th East Asia Summit was among the related summits held together with the 43rd Asean Summit.

Aside from Asean leaders, the 18th East Asia Summit was also attended by Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Image credits: Mast Irham/Pool Photo via AP