Canada backs ASEAN vs terrorism

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2017 11:05 AM | Updated as of Aug 06 2017 11:59 AM

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks to ASEAN ministers. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Canada's foreign minister on Sunday assured Southeast Asia of its support against violent extremism, saying none of them was immune to the threat.

Islamist extremism, along with nuclear tension in the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea dispute, is atop the agenda of regional meetings hosted by the Philippines this week.

Canada is in "a strong position" to help the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) against terrorism, said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Freeland expressed her condolences to victims of what she called Daesh-linked terrorists in Marawi City.

Fighting since May has killed more than 600 people, including 513 terrorists, and driven thousands of residents to nearby provinces.

"This is really a horror that none of us is immune to and we need to stand in solidarity fighting it," she told fellow ASEAN ministers.

The regional bloc wants to move away from a "purely military option" and adopt a "whole of nation" approach to combat violent extremism, according to a draft joint communique set to be released at the end of the meetings here.

This includes a "more effective use of social media in countering terrorist messages online," the draft showed.

ASEAN is seeking a more effective implementation of its counter-terrorism accord that was signed in Cebu City in 2007 and came to force 4 years later.