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  • ASEAN Joint Communique balanced, a reflection of real situation in the region — Cayetano

ASEAN Joint Communique balanced, a reflection of real situation in the region — Cayetano

Updated

By Roy Mabasa

It is not about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ASEAN Joint Communique being weak or strong but how it precisely reflects the current situation in the region.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano addresses the Grand Celebration and closing ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Anniversary and ASEAN Ministerial Meetings held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on August 8, 2017. (Richard V. Vinas / MANILA BULLETIN)

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano addresses the Grand Celebration and closing ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Anniversary and ASEAN Ministerial Meetings held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City on August 8, 2017.
(Richard V. Vinas / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was how Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano addressed criticisms that, after coming up with a carefully worded and diluted statement on the South China Sea dispute following the ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting, the regional grouping continues to issue ever-weaker statements of opposition.

Secretary Cayetano expressed his firm belief that the joint communique is a “balanced one” and that it “articulates as close as possible how ASEAN as a whole or some of its members feel

“It is a testament to our centrality, meaning, much of us compromised,” Cayetano told reporters in a press briefing after delivering a statement on the highlights of the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings, and the ASEAN at 50 Grand Celebration at the International Media Center in Conrad Hotel Manila Tuesday.

According to the foreign affairs chief, those ASEAN member countries who wanted a stronger statement compromised to those who wanted a weaker one while those who wanted something weaker compromised with those who were seeking something stronger.

“Although I don’t think stronger or weaker is the right word, the point is how reflective is it of the current situation,” said Cayetano.

He admitted that the Philippines was one of those who opposed the inclusion of land reclamation in the disputed areas in the South China Sea in the joint communique because China is “no longer reclaiming land.”

“I did not want to include it,” Cayetano explained. “It was not reflective of the situation. And since there is already a general statement so I accepted it.”

He emphasized that whether land reclamation is there or not, the reality on the ground is that people have actually stopped reclaiming.

Cayetano said he is perplexed why it viewed that the Philippine government and ASEAN are giving in to China because in reality China has not stopped reclamation.

“This is not a battle or competition,” he stressed. “China is not our enemy. Our policy is: Friends to all, enemy to none. If you want us to take that attitude towards China, do you mean we should have an aggressive attitude towards Malaysia and Vietnam because they are also rivals?”

Cayetano said the Philippines and ASEAN are not for shaming dialogue partners, rivals and co-claimants but are for finding peaceful resolution to all of these.

He stressed however that this does not mean that the stand of the Philippine government has changed.

“It’s not about consistency, it’s about diplomatic language that will lead us to our goals,” said Cayetano. “I started with a zero draft but I did not shove it down the throat of anyone because I believe in ASEAN centrality.”

 

 

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  • tarikan

    He (Cayetano) admitted that the Philippines was one of those who opposed the inclusion of land reclamation in the disputed areas in the South China Sea in the joint communique because China is “no longer reclaiming land.”
    Tapos na ang build build build nila Tseks, ano pa? Nasa militarize militarize militarize stage na sila and nearing completion. Waiting waiting waiting na lang sa “invaders” ng nine-dash-line and that includes da Pilipins. Kung gawin na lang China’s Eastern Province tayo baka mas safe pa tayo, hehehe! So ang continental shelf ng China ay lalapit sa Guam. Next target yan ng expanded nine-dash-line or by that time ten-dash-line na. Mautak Chekwa ah!

  • Paking

    The communique is tilting to the Chinese side and you call it balance. P_u_t_n_g I_n_a, Ibinenta ninyo ni Idioterte ang Pilipinas.

  • Manny Santos

    as expected na water down ang wordings according to China’s wish kasi na didiktahan ang Pinas kung ano ang sasabihin at kasi tapos na ang build nila at ginawang militarization na ang mga isla and they feel na irrelevant na sa ngaun..pati na ang 9 dash line d na napag usapan pa..so ano ang bago?

    and the tilt of balance goes on the weight of China how Asean members deal with the problem on China’s term..wala ring nabago we still a lap dog ..i even commend Vietnam of expressing their stand on China’s aggressiveness, well as we expect thats how we bow on present administration in exchange of promise billion dollars of loan