PHL welcomes bid to boost G7-Asean engagement


FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. welcomed initiatives to bolster Asean-G7 partnership and advance the Asean outlook on the Indo-Pacific, seen to maintain a region that is inclusive and based on the rule of law. He said “we value your support” as G7 members issued statements on upholding an international rules-based order in the South China Sea, including the reaffirmation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and the 2016 Award on the South China Sea arbitration.

“There is great potential in synergizing the G7 members’ Indo-Pacific strategies and the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. They have common objectives,” Locsin said as he attended the inaugural G7-Asean Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting on Sunday in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Locsin said that the landmark ministerial meeting acknowledged the importance of the Indo-Pacific Region and was “a critical step in our joint efforts to strengthen global cooperation and engagement.” He expressed the Philippines’s support for the strengthening of the Asean-G7 cooperation.

The meeting discussed Asean-G7 cooperation on shared security and regional collaboration; vaccines and global health security; infrastructure, economic growth and technology; climate change; and gender equality. In their statement, the Ministers welcomed the engagement and cooperation between the G7 and Asean, which is important for tackling shared global and regional challenges, and looked forward to closer cooperation between the G7 and Asean.

On Covid-19 response and recovery, Locsin highlighted the common goal of vaccinating as many people as possible, and expressed appreciation for G7 commitments to provide the world with over two billion vaccine doses.

On shared security and regional collaboration, he welcomed statements of support by G7 members. “Unclos and the 2016 Arbitral Award are the twin anchors of Philippine positions and activities in the South China Sea. We will not raise anchor and drift or sail away from them. We value your support,” Locsin said.

He also underlined the continued push for the swift and full implementation of Asean’s Five-Point Consensus on Myanmar, which, he stressed, “continues to be part of Asean” despite Myanmar’s absence from recent meetings of the bloc.

“In this time of the pandemic, the people of Myanmar should be protected from violence and harassment,” Locsin said.

He also protested any form of human rights abuses, violence, and marginalization of the Afghan people, especially women and girls; and reiterated the Philippine view that the pursuit of amity in the Korean Peninsula is “the collective responsibility of our entire region.”

The Group of 7, or G7, is composed of the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, and Italy, while the EU usually attends its high-level meetings. Asean, Australia, India, and the Republic of Korea were invited to attend this year’s G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting in Liverpool.

Image courtesy of DFA-ASEAN

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