By William Casis | FilAm Star Correspondent
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on May 8 reaffirmed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) strategic partnership with the United States in the region’s foreign ministers’ meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington.
Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo told Tillerson during the meeting that the Philippines reaffirms the importance of the Asean-US partnership especially in community building.
“There is a high degree of convergence of interest between Asean and the US in maritime security, nuclear non-proliferation, cyber security, and combatting transnational crime, including terrorism and violent extremism, and trafficking in persons,” Manalo said.
He said the Philippines “looks forward to deeper cooperation between Asean and the US following the entry into force of the Asean Convention on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children in March this year.
“The Philippines looks forward to the US renewed commitment to Asean-US strategic partnership at the upcoming Asean Post-Ministerial Conferences (PMC) + 1 in August and the 5th Asean-US Summit in November,” he added.
Tillerson and US President Donald Trump confirmed their attendance to the two meetings in Manila.
The two sides also exchanged views on the situation in the Korean Peninsula and agreed on the need for the full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
They also reaffirmed the importance of adhering to a rules-based order in the South China Sea.
Manalo underscored the Philippines’ commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes to achieve peace and stability in the region.
He expressed hope for an early agreement on a framework for the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and the expeditious conclusion of the Code of Conduct itself.
“Asean and the US also discussed their economic relations and welcomed further expansion of trade and investment ties,” Manalo added.
The country serves as chairman of Asean for 2017, which coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the group’s establishment.