Duterte stresses importance of peace, stability in South China Sea at ASEAN-Australia meet

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 14 2020 05:55 PM

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the disputed South China Sea as it is a shared objective within the ASEAN member-states and Australia.

During the virtual 2nd ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit, Duterte welcomed Australia’s commitment in the regional group’s centrality and its respect for international law, among others.

“Maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea is a shared strategic objective. We can do this all together if we uphold the primacy of law,” he said.

Duterte also thanked Australia for its “consistent support” for the 2016 Arbitral Ruling on the South China Sea, which invalidates China’s 9-dash line claim over nearly all of the disputed area.

“Prime Minister Morrison, thank you for Australia’s consistent support for the 2016 Arbitral Ruling on the South China Sea. Thank you for your kind words on my statement at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly on this matter,” he said.

 

During his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly since taking office, the chief executive in September rejected attempts to undermine the Philippines’ victory in the 2016 decision on the arbitration case by the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

“The ASEAN-Australia strategic partnership is anchored on a shared interest for a peaceful and prosperous Asia Pacific, where international law and the rights of states are respected and upheld,” he said.

Duterte stresses importance of peace, stability in South China Sea at ASEAN-Australia meet 1
President Duterte during the virtual 2nd ASEAN-Australia Biennial Summit for the 37th ASEAN Summit. November 14, 2020.

Security in the region

The President also called on his counterparts in ASEAN to boost anti-terrorism efforts and transnational crimes.

“We must not let up in our collective efforts to combat terrorism and transnational crimes. We must continue working together to deter foreign terrorist fighters. We must address the root causes of violence, extremism and radicalization,” Duterte said.

He added that the ASEAN-member states should ramp long-standing cooperation on law enforcement, immigration, and customs matters.

“We continue to fight these deplorable threats to our society, illicit drugs, online child exploitation and abused human trafficking and cybercrimes,” Duterte said.

He also called on member-states in the region to prepare for future pandemics by strengthening the health system through ASEAN-Australia’s Health Security Partnership.

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